An angry athlete is an athlete who will make mistakes

Collection of Short Stories (10)

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

An angry athlete is an athlete who will make mistakes, as any coach will tell you. I was no exception. On the first of my three qualifying jumps, I leaped from several inches beyond the take-off board for a foul.

(i) When and where is this story set?

Summer of 1936 / Olympic Games

Berlin/ Germany

What reason does the narrator Jesse Owens give for the heightened nationalistic feelings at this time?

Hitler’s insistence that his athletes were members of a ‘master/ Aryan/ superior race’ led to heightened nationalistic feelings.

(ii) In which event had Owens been confident of winning a gold medal?

the running broad jump/ long jump

Why?

A year ago, Jesse Owens had set the world record (26 feet 8- 1⁄4 inches as a sophomore at the Ohio State University).

Had trained for 6 years

Everyone expected him to win the event with ease.

(iii) What had made Owens angry enough to make mistakes?

Owens had been very confident of winning a gold medal in the running broad jump event.

He was shocked/ surprised to see /a tall German (Luz Long)/ hitting the pit at over 26 feet in the trial jumps/ Luz Long qualified easily/ He was told that Hitler had kept him (Luz Long) a secret and wanted him to win the broad jump.

Owens was a negro/ coloured man – he was angry at Hitler’s superior attitude - if Luz Long won it would add to the Nazis Aryan-Supremacy theory/ Owens was determined to prove Hitler wrong.

(iv) Name Owens’ rival who approached him at this point.

Luz Long

What advice did this athlete give Owens?

Long advised Owens to draw a line a few inches in back of the board/ jump or take off from there.

That would ensure he would not foul/ yet jump far enough to qualify/ it wasn’t important to be first in the trials/ qualifying for the finals was more important.

(v) How did the two athletes perform in the finals?

Luz Long - broke his own personal record

Owens - set Olympic record (of 26 feet 5 - 5/16 inches)/ won the Gold Medal

What does Jesse Owens consider his ‘Greatest Olympic Prize’?

The friendship that sprang up between himself and Luz Long.

Why?

It proved that it was possible for two people to rise above petty barriers like race and colour - to compete with each other and yet remain the best of friends