International sporting events have become somewhat of a staple in today's society, whether it be the Olympics, the World Cup, or exhibition games between the New York Yankees and the Tokyo Giants. These competitions generally bring out high spirits and intense enthusiasm. Most people envision sports as childhood pastimes, played for fun and recreation. However, in a lot of cases, international sporting events mean more than just the game or event themselves because they inspire nationalism and patriotism. The patriotism and nationalism that these events inspire, however, is not always positive and can sometimes "legitimize" superiority claims or inspire anti-foreign sentiment.
In 1936, the summer Olympics took place in Germany, where at the time dictator Adolph Hitler was claiming that the Germans were a master race and he would surely be proven right in the Olympic games where the Germans would obviously win every gold medal because they were so superior. Jesse Owens and other incredible African-American and Jewish athletes proved Hitler wrong. Owens persevered to capture four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics; in the 100-meters sprint, the 200-meter sprint, the long jump and the 400-meter relay, breaking two Olympic records and one world record. Jesse Owens's record for the long jump set in the 1936 Olympics stood for twenty-five years. The German spectators gave Owens a very large standing ovation. In the unofficial point system drawn up by the American Olympic Committee the American male track and field team scored 203 points. Owens, amazingly, scored 40 points by himself, almost two-thirds the total of the entire German track and field team. When Jesse Owens made his triumphant return to the United States, he was honored and celebrated with a New York ticker tape parade, and awarded many honors. Even though the United States was not yet at war with Nazi Germany, the people knew of Hitler's white... [continues]
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