Olympic Games, Berlin 1936
Carl Ludwig "Lutz" Long (27 April 1913 -- 13 July 1943)
A German Olympic long-jumper at the 1936 Olympic games in Germany.
In the long jump event, Long had already qualified for the finals while Jesse Owens his main rival was struggling to qualify into the finals and had failed 2 jumps (no jumps) with one last jump remaining.
Luz Long in strength of goodwill and friendship advised Jesse Owens to try and jump
from a spot several inches behind the take-off board so as not to be disqualified for his last jump. Jesse Owens took his advice and qualified. Owens went on and defeated Luz Long in the finals to take the gold and to the dismay of Hitler.
Luz Long went on to congratulate him and did a victory lap with Jesse Owens with the overwhelmingly partisan crowd watching and cheering at the
height of the Aryan gospel by Hitler. Such courage, beyond imagination.
Very few people can display this courage and loyalty.
Jesse Owens was moved to say this;
"You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment".
Long served in the German army when war broke out in 1939 and was severely wounded in 1943. He died in a British military hospital. Before he went to serve in the army, Long had wrote to Jesse in America;
"My heart is telling me that this is perhaps the last letter of my life. If that is so, I beg one thing from you. When the war is over, please go to Germany, find my son and tell him about his father. Tell him about the times when war did not separate us and tell him that things can be different between men in this world"
"Your brother, Luz."
"Hitler had a certain time to come to the stadium and a certain time to leave".
"It happened he had to leave before the victory ceremony after the 100 meters.
But before he left I was on my way to a broadcast and passed near his box. He waved at me and I waved back. I think it was 'bad taste' to criticize the man of the hour in another country" - Owens
Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels as whites, while at the time blacks in many parts of the United States were denied equal rights. After a New York City ticker-tape parade of Fifth Avenue in his honor, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to reach the reception honoring him.
Owens said, "Hitler didn't snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." On the other hand, Hitler sent Owens a commemorative inscribed cabinet photograph of himself. Jesse Owens was never invited to the White House nor were honors bestowed upon him by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) or his successor Harry S. Truman during their terms. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower honored Owens by naming him an "Ambassador of Sports."
In August 2009, the London Daily Telegraph found a German sports reporter, Siegfried Mischner then aged 83, who claimed that Owens had shown him a photograph of Hitler shaking his hand
after the 100 meters event, behind the stadium's honor stand. There is no independent confirmation of this.
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