57+ Best Jesse Owens Quotes: Exclusive Selection

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. Profoundly inspirational James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

Famous Jesse Owens Quotes

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.–Jesse Owens

For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world.–Jesse Owens

In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?–Jesse Owens

Well, I couldn’t play an instrument. I’d just stand up front and announce the numbers. They had me sing a little, but that was a horrible mistake. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. We played black theaters and nightclubs all over hell. One-nighters. Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Earle Theater in Philly – That was big time for blacks.–Jesse Owens

I’d noticed him watching me for a year or so, especially when we’d play games where there was running or jumping.–Jesse Owens

It’s like having a pet dog for a long time. You get attached to it, and when it dies you miss it.–Jesse Owens

Every morning, just like in Alabama, I got up with the sun, ate my breakfast even before my mother and sisters and brothers, and went to school, winter, spring, and fall alike to run and jump and bend my body this way and that for Mr. Charles Riley.–Jesse Owens

I realized now that militancy in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn’t a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.–Jesse Owens

People who worked with me or knew me still called me the ‘world’s fastest human’ because I almost never stopped. I’d found that I could get more done with no regular job or regular hours at all, but by being on my own, flying to speak here, help with a public relations campaign for some client there, tape my regular jazz radio show one morning at 5:00 a.m. before leaving on a plane for another city or another continent three hours later to preside over a major sporting event.–Jesse Owens

I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.–Jesse Owens

I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals.–Jesse Owens

Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.–Jesse Owens

I decided I wasn’t going to come down. I was going to fly. I was going to stay up in the air forever.–Jesse Owens

Joe Louis and I were the first modern national sports figures who were black… But neither of us could do national advertising because the South wouldn’t buy it. That was the social stigma we lived under.–Jesse Owens

People come out to see you perform and you’ve got to give them the best you have within you.–Jesse Owens

I fought, I fought harder . . . but one cell at a time, panic crept into my body, taking me over.–Jesse Owens

If you don’t try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody’s back yard. The thrill of competing carries with it the thrill of a gold medal. One wants to win to prove himself the best.–Jesse Owens

The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.–Jesse Owens

It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it’s close–Jesse Owens

In the space of less than seven days, I attended a track meet in Boston, flew from there to Bowling Green for the National Jaycees, then to Rochester for the blind, Buffalo for another track meet, New York to shoot a film called The Black Athlete, Miami for Ford Motor Company, back up to New York for 45 minutes to deliver a speech, then into L. A. for another the same night.–Jesse Owens

It dawned on me with blinding brightness. I realized: I had jumped into another rare kind of stratosphere – one that only a handful of people in every generation are lucky enough to know.–Jesse Owens

He was constantly on me about the job that I was to do and the responsibility that I had upon the campus. And how I must be able to carry myself because people were looking.–Jesse Owens

We used to have a lot of fun. We never had any problems. We always ate. The fact that we didn’t have steak? Who had steak?–Jesse Owens

Life doesn’t give you all the practice races you need.–Jesse Owens

The lives of most men are patchwork quilts. Or at best one matching outfit with a closet and laundry bag full of incongruous accumulations. A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.–Jesse Owens

It was bad enough to have toppled from the Olympic heights to make my living competing with animals. But the competition wasn’t even fair. No man could beat a race horse, not even for 100 yards.–Jesse Owens

The secret is, first, get a thoroughbred horse because they are the most nervous animals on earth. Then get the biggest gun you can find and make sure the starter fires that big gun right by the nervous thoroughbred’s ear.–Jesse Owens

To a sprinter, the hundred-yard dash is over in three seconds, not nine or ten.–Jesse Owens

Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.–Jesse Owens

When I came back, after all those stories about Hitler and his snub, I came back to my native country, and I could not ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. Now what’s the difference?–Jesse Owens

There is something that can happen to every athlete and every human being; the instinct to slack off, to give in to pain, to give less than your best; the instinct to hope you can win through luck or through your opponent not doing his best, instead of going to the limit and past your limit where victory is always found. Defeating those negative instincts that are out to defeat us, is the difference between winning and losing – and we all face that battle every day.–Jesse Owens

The only victory that counts is the one over yourself.–Jesse Owens

The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself – the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us – that’s where it’s at.–Jesse Owens

Although I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.–Jesse Owens

Championships are mythical. The real champions are those who live through what they are taught in their homes and churches. The attitude that ‘We’ve got to win’ in sports must be changed. Teach your youngsters, who are the future hope of America, the importance of love, respect, dedication, determination, self-sacrifice, self-discipline and good attitude. That’s the road up the ladder to the championships.–Jesse Owens

Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.–Jesse Owens

After I came home from the 1936 Olympics with my four medals, it became increasingly apparent that everyone was going to slap me on the back, want to shake my hand or have me up to their suite. But no one was going to offer me a job.–Jesse Owens

One chance is all you need.–Jesse Owens

People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals. There was no television, no big advertising, no endorsements then. Not for a black man, anyway.–Jesse Owens

When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.–Jesse Owens

The only bond worth anything between human beings is their humanness.–Jesse Owens

Hitler didn’t snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.–Jesse Owens

A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.–Jesse Owens

We must respect the rights and properties of our fellowman. And then learn to play the game of life, as well as the game of athletics, according to the rules of society. If you can take that and put it into practice in the community in which you live, then, to me you have won the greatest championship.–Jesse Owens

Running is real. It’s all joy and woe, hard as diamond. It makes you weary beyond comprehension, but it also makes you free.–Jesse Owens

Only by God?s grace have I made it to see today and only by God?s grace will I ever see tomorrow.–Jesse Owens

I wanted no part of politics. And I wasn’t in Berlin to compete against any one athlete. The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best. As I’d learned long ago from Charles Riley, the only victory that counts is the one over yourself.–Jesse Owens

One day or another every athlete feels like taking it easy. He stops trying to exceed his limits, and thinks he can keep winning because of his lucky star, or the bad luck of his opponents. You must overcome this negative instinct, which affects all of us, and which is the only difference between the person who wins a race, and those who lose. This is the battle you have to fight every day of your life.–Jesse Owens

The black fist is a meaningless symbol. When you open it, you have nothing but fingers – weak, empty fingers. The only time the black fist has significance is when there’s money inside. There’s where the power lies.–Jesse Owens

We have no idea what we’ll find, really. This area has never been examined. This portion of Mud Creek has never been studied.–Jesse Owens

If it’s clay, it pretty much means it was here before 10,000 B.C.. Most archaeologists don’t believe humans were in North America that early.–Jesse Owens

I always loved running / it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.–Jesse Owens

Just ironge the people who tend mock at you–Jesse Owens

To me, we must learn to spell the word RESPECT. We must respect the rights and properties of our fellowman. And then learn to play the game of life, as well as the game of athletics, according to the rules of society. If you can take that and put it into practice in the community in which you live, then, to me you have won the greatest championship.–Jesse Owens

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 Long at that moment.–Jesse Owens

It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler,–Jesse Owens

The hogs and the cows would get fat on them.–Jesse Owens

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