club19 April 2021

LUZ LONG AND JESSE OWENS: "CHAMPIONS OF EQUITY" FROM THE "RESPACT" MANIFESTO

The initiative promoted by AC Milan continues, with the aim of publicising and valuing the stories of sports personalities who have made significant contributions to promoting tolerance and inclusion at an international level

The "Champions of Equity" campaign continues with the story of the friendship between Luz Long and Jesse Owens. The initiative, promoted by AC Milan, embodies the long-term vision of the club, which has always been committed to sharing sport’s positive values, to mitigate all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

In 1936, Carl Ludwig "Luz" Long was an Olympic athlete who embodied the Nazi party ideal and who held the European long jump record at the time. Long represented the ‘crown jewel’ for Hitler who intended to use the Olympics to propagate his crazy racist theories.

Jewish athletes were banned from participating in the Olympics, while African American athletes were allowed to compete, albeit in reduced numbers. One of them was named James "Jesse" Cleveland Owens, a young man who soon showed off his talents that led him to the Berlin Olympics.

On August 4 1936 the moment came for Jesse Owens to take the long jump. The young athlete risked a sensational elimination from the competition after having his first two jumps cancelled out. Suddenly, Luz Long came to help after seeing Owens in difficulty. He approached him to indicate the ideal take-off point to record a valid jump.

The American followed the advice and qualified for the final. On the evening of August 4, Owens returned to the long jump platform, with Luz Long waiting for him. That famous duel has now entered history, an expression of the noblest values of sport and fair play.

That friendship, born on the platform at the Berlin Olympics, continued for a long time despite the difficult historical and cultural context.

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