Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: THE WHOLE WORLD IN GOD’S HANDS (not the song) (05/28/15)
- TITLE: The Eye on the Prize
By Loni Bowden-Horn
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To show homage to the maniacal maniac known as Hitler, I noticed that many athletes gave him a Nazi salute as they passed by him during the opening ceremonies. I had to suppress a snicker as a flag bearer from the United States failed to dip the flag in front of the officials and Herr Hitler, as was the custom, and they glowered back at the lad to show their disapproval.
I held back tears as I witnessed the Olympic torch bearer arrive and ignite the flame in a majestic cauldron. An official announced it had taken over 3,000 athletes to run from Olympia, Greece (where the first Olympics was held) to Berlin, Germany.
I cringed at Herr Hitler’s remarks of a “newly reinvented Germany.” The newspaper headline still etched in my mind, “Hitler Touts Athletes from Aryan Race as His Chosen People.” It was reportedly a well-known fact that Hitler wanted to build his country with a master race of people. The select group of German citizens needed to be strong, tall and have blond hair and blue eyes.
I was horrified to see Olympic flags interspersed with Nazi flags emblazoned with swastikas in the village where we stayed.
As day two approached, my focus soon returned to the competition. I watched the electrified crowd erupt into spontaneous applause as Jessie Owens entered the stadium. I, along with the rest of the world’s attention, seemed to be riveted on the three track and field events soon to unfold.
I observed Jessie Owens warming up amongst the other runners. Each runner walked to his own assigned lane and prepared to run the 100-meter dash. I could feel the tension mount as the official shouted, “On your mark”, “get set, “go.”
As the starter's pistol went “bang,” I saw Jesse fly out of the blocks with the grace of a gazelle. With his lightening speed, it felt as if Jessie had wings as he soared past the other competitors.
The announcer’s voice increased two octaves as he exclaimed, “Jessie Owens has won an Olympic gold medal. The world record has been shattered with a time of 10.3 seconds. Jessie seemed to be moved as the America flag waved above his head and the National Anthem played in the background.
I witnessed Jessie Owen winning his gold medals in both the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.7 and the long jump with a jump of 26 feet 5 ½ inches long.
My adrenaline started pumping as I began to prepare for the 4x100-meter relay event. I was picked to be on the USA team because of my outstanding sprinting ability. The morning before the event, I was summoned by my coach to attend an emergency meeting. I and my Jewish teammate we were being pulled from the race and being replaced by Metcalf and Owens.
A range of emotions from frustration to anger flooded my mind as I sat on the sideline watching someone else run my leg of the relay. I couldn’t get the thought, “that should be me out there,” out of my head as I watched Metcalf, my replacement, blaze past other runners as he rounded the curve. I grasped the yellow Star of David key that I had been given by officials to wear as a symbol of my Jewish heritage. I knew that was the only reason I was banned from my event.
I was excited for the United States when they won the 4x100-meter relay in a world-record time of 39.8 seconds, but I felt cheated that I had no gold medal around my neck.
I wore my Star of David as a badge of courage. I would devote my life to promoting tolerance of all people.
While the world remained silent, I knew there was a day when my Messiah was coming for His chosen people of Israel, and he would restore peace on earth. I kept my eye on the prize to come.
This is based on the story of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Two Jewish athletes were pulled from being on the 4x100-meter relay team.
www.TheHistoryPlace –The triumph of Hitlerwww.TheNazi Olympics: Introduction
www.ESPN.com – Owens pierced a myth by Larry Schwartz
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