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Legacy of Jesse Owens' Olympic oak tree lives on with propagated sapling taking root at Rockefeller Park Lagoon

Jesse Owens tree.jpg
Jesse Owens, Tris Speaker, Harold Mosier; Minnie Ruth Owens, Minnie Ruth Solomon, Harold Burton
Posted at 6:00 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 13:57:42-05

UPDATE: The planting scheduled for today has been postponed until 2021.

A piece of history and the legacy of renowned athlete Jesse Owens, who broke barriers during the 1936 Olympics Games in Berlin, will live on for generations to come. A sapling propagated from the original oak tree that was donated to Owens by the Olympic Committee, and later planted at James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, will take root at another spot in Cleveland.

Arborists from Holden Forests and Gardens and Klyn Nurseries Inc. grew a sapling propagated from the original tree, which was showing signs of age-related distress.

On Thursday from 3:30-3:45 p.m. the Cleveland Botanical Garden will live stream the planting from its Facebook page. The sapling will be planted at Rockefeller Park Lagoon, which runs alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The planting of this sapling is important for future generations as the Jesse Owens Olympic Oak tree in Cleveland remains a powerful symbol of his legacy.

Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens, the 22-year-old African American super athlete who starred in the Berlin Olympic Games, is shown with his mother and wife upon his return to Cleveland, his home town on August 25, 1936. Cheers of thousands echoed in his ears all along a 12-mile civic parade staged in his honor. (AP Photo)

Owens brought home four gold medals from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and was the first person ever to win four gold medals at one time in Olympic track history.

1936 Berlin Games Unlikely Allies
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 1936, file photo, America's Jesse Owens, center, salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump, after defeating Nazi Germany's Lutz Long, right, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Naoto Tajima of Japan, left, placed third. The performance of Jesse Owens will be honored in the stadium where he won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games when the world championships are held in Berlin this month. (AP Photo/File)

As a Black athlete in Nazi Germany, his success on the field disproved Adolf Hitler's idea of white supremacy.

At the time, the Olympic committee presented Owens with four English oak saplings, which were planted behind his childhood home, in Berlin, at Ohio State University and at James Rhodes High School where he attended track practice.

Jesse Owens
Happy over his double victory, Jesse Owens of Cleveland is shown with the Olympic Oaks in Berlin on August 8, 1936, given to each winner, which he won by capturing for the American first honors in the 100-meter dash and running broad jump. (AP Photo)

The high school is the only known place where you can visit a legacy tree.

Pictured in the photo below, his wife, Minnie Ruth Owens, holds three potted oak tree plants.

Mrs. Jesse Owens and three oak trees sent to Jesse by German Olympics.