tBBC Legends: The Best Buckeye

Written June 14th, 2014 by WVaBuckeye

Some articles are no-brainers and most of the time they definitely write themselves. What more can be said about The Buckeye Bullet that hasn’t already been written? For sure my opinion, but everything else has been covered here JesseOwens.com. This is the first in a two part series (or maybe more because of cohorts responses?) that we will discuss the Best Buckeyes and Worst Buckeyes ever

Records in two enemy territories, In Ann Arbor and later in Berlin.

Records in two enemy territories, In Ann Arbor and later in Berlin.

Originally I was just going to say my piece about Jesse and let the article stand for itself. However, many other blogs and writers have covered his story and told their stance of the man that stood tall against Adolf Hitler. This article is also about what my comrades think when it comes to who pops into their minds of who the best buckeye ever was and their thoughts put the cherry on top at the end, stay tuned.

Jesse was born James Cleveland Owens in Oakville, Alabama in 1913 and I am positive that Henry and Emma Owens had no idea at the time what their special new baby was going to do with his life. Let’s revisit the times for just a brief moment and remember that African-Americans had no rights at the time and the world we live in was treating them terribly. Just a mere 24 years later, Jesse would change the face of the world with his feats at the Olympics.

The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1922 and one of Jesse’s school teachers was actually responsible for his name. His older brother’s and sisters had always called him JC, and one of his teachers wrote Jesse down in a roll call and it became his name. Over the next several years, Jesse would set new records everywhere he went and that would culminate with the 1936 Olympics in front of one of the most evil people to ever live.

What Jesse did while at Ohio State and in the Olympics can be appreciated today for sure. When he passed away in 1980, President Jimmy Carter had this to say,

“Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty and racial bigotry. His personal triumphs as a world-class athlete and record holder were the prelude to a career devoted to helping others. His work with young athletes, as an unofficial ambassador overseas, and a spokesman for freedom are a rich legacy to his fellow Americans.”

This is where my opinion comes into place. A very emotional time for those who supported what Jesse took on in his lifetime, he was always working to better the world. Even though you may never really find him at the forefront of civil rights movements, he simply wanted the world to be a better place and spent his life making that happen.

In the face of Evil, Jesse shone brightest

In the face of Evil, Jesse shone brightest

Jesse didn’t have to convince people of his position with regards of doing so. He went toe-to-toe with Hitler, showed him that his great Aryan race wasn’t so great, and quite possibly was the reason Hitler went over the edge. Jesse showed the world that a simple man, born into poverty and segregation, could and would prove him wrong.

I applaud and appreciate every person in sports or everyday life that has stood up for civil rights. Jesse Owens was just different than any of the others that had to fight, maybe even lose their lives to make change in civil rights. He got it, he knew that he wasn’t going to change the world in one day, not even in his lifetime. But he knew if he stayed the course and educated those who wanted to hear it, and make those strides to become better people, his dream of a different world would happen.

In my beliefs of all beliefs, the golden rule takes precedent above all else. Jesse was the epitome of it, and when he died, he saw a completely different world than the one he came into. I have to believe that as his years began to fade, he spent those days on his front porch, drinking some good southern sweet tea, and simply had a smile on his face. Only thinking of what his athleticism and heart did to bring change. Bless you Jesse Owens and bless those you have impacted for more than 80 years now.

Jesse Owens is my Best Buckeye Ever because of what he has meant to a world that wouldn’t be the same if he had never existed. The accomplishments he did, while representing THE Ohio State University makes him my choice. Let’s take a look at what the rest of tBBC staff had to say.

Several monuments for the man, but probably the best was erected by Ohio State outside Jesse Owens Stadium on campus

Several monuments for the man, but probably the best was erected by Ohio State outside Jesse Owens Stadium on campus

  • Scott –  Archie Griffin, two Heisman’s – nuff said.
  • EricChic Harley – It’s called “The House that Harley Built”.  Nuff said.
  • Joe - This is an easy decision for me. The Buckeye Bullet won 8 individual NCAA championships in two years. In one day, he broke three world records and tied another in 1935 at the Big Ten Meet. Jesse Owens did all this while being segregated from his team… Pretty impressive Buckeye IMO
  • MaliWhat Joe said….  One million percent.
  • Doty - after really thinking about it, It would have to be Woody Hayes!!!!
  • KenNo question, it’s Jesse Owens. As great as he was at the 1935 Big Ten Meet, and he was, he managed to punctuate that with a performance for the ages in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His 4 Gold medals on the big stage were impressive, especially when set in the political/racial context of the time. - Jesse Owens: Aryan “Myth Buster” !
  • PatrickI’m going to go a different route since a lot have gone the Jessie Owens route and say Logan Stieber. Stieber has already accomplished what no Buckeye wrestler has ever done in becoming a 3x national champ but with his international accomplishments and still a season to go, you can safely put him as the greatest Buckeye wrestler of all time, easily.
  • CharlesI definitely have to agree with most on JO as the best Buckeye.  What he did at the Big Ten Championships was impressive enough but then his accomplishments in Berlin plus the symbolic and cultural significance of those put him over the top in my mind.
  • GaryMy best buckeye would be Jesse Owens as well. His athletic ability was able to outshine all the race issues at that time. That just tells you how talented that man was! 

1 Comment

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    June 14th, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    WVa, an excellent article, thank you. This makes for some fine, introspective reading.

    I’m sure that ‘part the two’ of your series won’t be as inspirational, but you do lead with your BEST.


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