The AIMS Marathon Museum of Running in Berlin, Germany, was the venue for an emotional meeting of families recently as the granddaughters of two sporting icons launched an exhibition entitled "Jesse Owens -- A Sports Hero".
Jesse Owens' granddaughter Marlene Dortch and Luz Long's granddaughter Julia-Vanessa Long were guests of honour during a formal reception launching a display in recognition of the outstanding achievements and sporting behaviour of their family members during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
It was during the Games that American track and field athlete Owens confirmed his status as the star of the US team becoming the first competitor ever to win four gold medals: one each in the 100, 200, long jump, and as a member of the 4x100 relay team. However, it was the relationship which developed between Owens and Long during the long jump event which provided the biggest talking point due to the display of sporting behaviour and understanding which represented the true spirit of the Olympic Games.
It has been reported that German athlete Long, a Silver medallist at the 1936 Games had given advice to his competitor, Jesse Owens, who went on to win the gold medal for the long jump as a result. Owens later famously said of the bond he felt with Long: "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."
The AIMS Marathon Museum of Running boasts a collection of over 15,000 items of memorabilia with the "crown jewels" displayed in glass cases including the running kit worn by Haile Gebrselassie when he set the then World marathon record in Berlin on 30 September 2007 (2:04:26).
After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 various sport history collections were united in the Berlin Sports Museum. The Museum now officially incorporates the "AIMS Marathon Museum of Running" and documents the development of running and the marathon worldwide. The Museum is located in the Berlin Olympic Park directly adjacent to the Olympic Stadium, the venue for the recent IAAF World Championships.
AIMS President Hiroaki Chosa stated upon his visit to the Jesse Owens exhibition: "Jesse Owens is one of the greatest sporting heroes of all time. In addition to his outstanding athleticism, he is a worldwide icon and champion for diversity. The "Jesse Owens -- A Sports Hero" exhibition helps to celebrate his achievements and promote his important legacy for future generations."
AIMS Marathon Museum of Running creator and AIMS Director Horst Milde said: "We are delighted to recognise both Jesse Owens and Luz Long in the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running. We hope many people will get great pleasure from visiting AIMS' Museum and enjoying the many exhibits that celebrate the sport of running."
The Jesse Owens exhibit is already one of the most popular displays in the Museum's history and was visited by several professional athletes during the recent IAAF World Championships. The exhibit "Jesse Owens -- A Sports Hero" is open to the public until Sunday 31st January 2010 and is accompanied by a 52-page brochure with many -- some previously never published -- historical photographs of Jesse Owens.
The AIMS Marathon Museum of Running is open Monday -- Friday 1000hrs-1400hrs and admission to "Jesse Owens -- A Sports Hero" is free of charge. For further information please visit www.sportmuseum-berlin.de or contact:
Haus des Deutschen Sports
Tel: +49 30-3 05 83 00
Fax: +49 30-3 05 83 40