Germany (1936): Adolf Hitler planned to showcase his theories of Aryan racial superiority
at these Summer Olympics. But things didn't go exactly as planned, with the
On the first day of the track-and-field events, Hitler only congratulated German winners and refused to acknowledge African-American high-jumper and gold medalist Cornelius Johnson. When International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials told Hitler he needed to congratulate all medalists or none at all, he opted for the latter. When Owens won his medals, Hitler had already chosen to skip the awards ceremony.
But Owens later said that he felt more insulted by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's failure to acknowledge his victories than he was by Hitler's absence from the medal ceremony. "The president didn't even send me a telegram," Owens noted. He was never invited to the White House to receive the honors traditionally bestowed on Olympic medalists. Eventually, 19 years later, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower named Owens an "Ambassador of Sports."