Sprint Legends Honor Owens

BONN -- Jesse Owens will be honored by the fastest men in the world Friday. Six decades after Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Olympic sprint champions past and present will pay tribute in the same Olympic stadium.


Olympic 100-meter champion Donovan Bailey will head a "Dream Team" relay in a special 4x100 meters race in the stadium where the black American made history. Linford Christie and Frankie Fredericks will also run as may Michael Johnson. Before the Berlin Olympics, Nazi propaganda had portrayed Negroes as inferior but Owens stole the show.


One of the most striking moments came in the long jump when Owens became friends with Luz Long, a blue-eyed, blond German, who told Owens he did not believe Hitler's theories.


After Owens clinched the gold medal, Long, who finished second, was the first person to congratulate him in full view of the Fuhrer.


"You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment," Owens wrote later.