Jesse Owens (pictured) wowed the world when he shattered Olympic records by winning four track and field gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Now one of the gold medals have been placed on the auction block, raising concerns from the International Olympic Committee because, according to the organization, it is “a part of a world heritage,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Owens, who passed away in 1980, reportedly gifted one of the gold medals to his longtime friend and legendary tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The medal, which had been in the possession of Robinson’s widow, Elaine Plaines, is now being put up for auction by SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel. Dan Inler, vice president of SCP, defends his move to auction the invaluable piece of history whom many argue should be in a museum, told the L.A. Times, “We reached out to the family of Jesse Owens as soon as we were first contacted about the medal,” Inler contends. “Out of unmitigated respect it was imperative to us and to our consignor that they be immediately informed of the decision.” IOC President Thomas Bach, however, feels that the medal’s significance is more than just an Olympic win. He told the Associated Press, that the medal is “a part of world heritage” that has “an importance far beyond the sporting achievements of Jesse Owens. To put this up for an auction is, for me, a very difficult decision [to accept].” Owens achieved his wins during Adolph Hitler’s rule over Nazi Germany. After Owens stupefied the event’s spectators with his skills, Hitler shook the hands of all of the Olympic winners except for Owens; Hitler wouldn’t shake Owens’ hands because he felt the Black man was inferior to Whites. Even worse, President Franklin D. Roosevelt never sent Owens a congratulatory telegram or an invite to the White House after his tremendous display at the Summer Olympics. Since 1936 was a presidential election year, Roosevelt was afraid he’d lose the Southern votes if he paid any attention to Owens. The medal that will be auctioned off is one of four whose whereabouts are known. Experts predict that the auction of the coveted medal could fetch as much as $1 million, and a portion of it will go to charity. Meanwhile, Imler is keeping hope alive that the medal will wind up in what he feels should be its rightful place. Imler told the L.A. Times, “Whether this medal is purchased by a private individual or an institution, SCP Auctions and our consignor share in the feeling that the ideal place for Jesse Owens’ gold medal is on display in a museum, where it can be shared with the public and perpetuate Owens’ inspiring legacy.”
Photo Highlights: President Obama Chicago Farewell Speech
President Barack Obama makes his final farewell speech in his hometown of Chicago. Arriving at O'hare airport on Airforce One Tuesday, early evening was First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia and Vice President Joe Biden along with wife, Jill Biden.
Making a final journey as the 44th President of the United States, expressways and local South Side streets were cleared as traffic stood at a complete when the 20-vehicle caravan made its way to Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park. There, President Obama conducted a one-on-one interview with NBC anchorman, Lester Holt before proceeding to give his farewell speech at McCormick Place.
Nearly 20,000 attendees packed the nearly standing-room only space in the East wing of the McCormick Place as VIP attendees sat upfront to hang onto the President's every word. There were various groups that traveled from far and near to be a part of history including celebrity sightings from Sharon Stone to Empire's Jussie Smollett--local and state dignitaries. Opening up the ceremony was a special performance by Hip hop/R&B singer, BJ the Chicago Kid showcasing belting out the national anthem is a smart blue suit.
Once President Obama hit the stage, the electric energy of emotions ran throughout the audience. At times, the crowd's applause was so loud that it impossible to hear him but there were moments that silence rippled throughout the venue--knowing this would be his last time addressing his hometown as Chief of Staff.
In his signature style of class, poise and honor--he addressed the various strides that he and his administration has made over the last eight years in protecting America's democracy. His emotions got the best of him when he addressed his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia who sat in the front row along with Vice President Joe Biden, wife Jill and his mother-in-law--Marian Shields Robinson.
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”</span></p>
<p class="p1">After the speech, the Obama family took time out to walk along the barricades, greeting and shaking hands with supporters and friends. The scene was definitely historic and we knew it was the end of an era of class that will not be duplicated in the White House for a very long time.</p>
<p class="p1"><a href="http://www.twitter.com/globalmixx">Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter</a></p>
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