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The German athlete who angered Hitler for helping his competitor Jesse Owens

May 8, 2020

If your love of your work is genuine, you definitely respect your competition.

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The German athlete who angered Hitler for helping his competitor Jesse OwensThe German athlete who angered Hitler for helping his competitor Jesse Owens

In 1936, Carl Ludwig “Luz” Long was an Olympic athlete who embodied the ideal of Nazi party. Long, a tall, blond, blue-eyed man aged 21, held the European long jump record at the time and hoped to win a gold medal at the Olympics with his country’s leaders. in Berlin.

“Easy” long he would be forced to engage and fight in the German army and allies during the Second World War where he would end after suffering fatal wounds during the Battle of San Pietro in 1943.

But that was the end of it. Long had another enemy seven years earlier: an African American athlete named Jesse Owenswho embodied the antithesis of Hitler’s theory of the dominance of the white race. Owens would finally write history in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin by winning four gold medals, breaking or matching nine Olympic records and setting three world records.

But Owens didn’t win all of these medals alone. The American had help from a highly unlikely source: the future German soldier Long.

Owens tried to improve his long jump. The 23-year-old athlete had always excelled in the event, but this time he failed in his first two attempts at the qualifying round. Facing the prospect of not making it to the finals, Owens struggled to regain his composure. At that point, Long, his competitor, and the favorite who won the event entered. Not to mock you or to make you feel bad, but to give you advice.

“Something must be worrying you,” Long said in the newspaper article. The Independent. “You should have qualified with your eyes closed.” Long’s suggestions for concentration helped Owens calm down and change his focus. The American easily reached the qualifying distance and eventually won the event, defeating Long, who was the favorite, and angered the Nazi leadership, who watched the game from the podium.

Who was the first to congratulate Owens on his long jump victory? This future German soldier.

“What I remember most was the friendship I had with Luz Long,” Owens wrote later about this time in his life. “It was my strongest opponent, but he recommended that I adjust my qualifying round position and therefore helped me win.”

It turns out that Long wasn’t just a competitor. He was a long-time admirer of the famous American athlete and lover of his mutual craft. After Long’s death and the end of World War II, Owens traveled to Berlin to meet his friend’s family.

“All of the medals and trophies I won could be melted, and they would be worth nothing compared to the 24-carat friendship I made with Luz Long back then,” the American said of Long.

In his honor, one street near the German home stadium and another near the Munich Olympic Stadium are named after him posthumously Pierre de Coubertin Medal.

This is a very big world and offers many opportunities to share wealth. In business as in life, real professionals, including rivals, respect each other and help each other to succeed. In this way, they improve their craft, promote the success of their profession, build relationships, share rewards, and can help the world get a little better … even in the eyes of evil.

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