My Greatest Olympic Prize by Jesse Owens Analysis

This inspirational story about enduring friendship and relentless effort was written in an autobiographical account by the world-famous athlete Jesse Owens. The title of the story itself holds a more meaningful connection in the life of the author. It is generally understood that Jesse Owens is talking about the Olympic Prize he won in one of the greatest sporting events of all time in the year 1960. However, on deeper reflection, the readers get to know that Jesse is not talking about material possessions like the gold medals at all. In fact, the title of the story refers to his friendship with Luz Long who was a formidable player in the German team. Despite being rivals the two sports people come together as men leaving their differences aside to share a bond worth more than any prize.

The style and technique of writing is simple and unbiased which has helped the author paint a perfect picture of human flaws and redeeming qualities. As it is an autobiographical account the whole story is from the viewpoint of one character that is also the central character of the story. The events unfold at a natural straightforward pace without any usage of major symbolism or other literary devices. The narrative is impressive in its simplicity and effectively registers the deeper meaning of self-less acts even in the face of adversity. Although the author has no experience as a writer he has managed to bring out the emotions of the two main characters quiet well.

Themes: My Greatest Olympic Prize


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theme of the story centres on the positivity of true sportsmanship and how we can come together as human beings to participate in fair play. Often we see players getting emotionally tormented after a failure in the sporting event. The author wishes to address this problem by giving instances from his own life and explains that sports can at best be a good game or a dream but true friendships are over and above such momentary passions. Compromising the bond of humanity based on social divisions and prejudices is not worth any conflict.

Character Sketch: My Greatest Olympic Prize

The character we first get introduced in the story is that of Jesse Owens and it’s his tale so we get a first-hand perspective of the actual events as they happened. He is a hot-blooded athlete with an eye for victory as he wishes to answer back to the people who wronged him with his medals. He gains a better conscience and feels inspired upon his fateful meeting with a German rival.

The figures of Luz Long and Hitler both hail from the same nation of Germany but their beliefs and characters are poles apart. As the story is based on a real event the characters are also real and we find many conflicting traits in the personality of these two people who apparently belong to the same nation. In fact, Luz Long is a man Hitler counts upon during the finals of the Olympics. Nevertheless, Luz Long proves to be a far better and braver man than Hitler ever could be. While Hitler was promoting the idea of a superior race, Luz gave a very important lesson on the true nature and bond of humanity.

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The Olympics game of 1960 and the present audience together as a body has also been presented as a character in the story. The excitement for the game is palpitating and can be felt if we read in between the lines. People from everywhere came together to cheer and applaud Jesse Owens as he was performing not only to win but to also defeat a dangerous social prejudice.

Conclusion: My Greatest Olympic Prize

The spectators often only see the performances of the athletes during a game or a match. They fail to see or acknowledge the hardships and struggles that every sportsperson endures before a game. This autobiographical account by Jesse Owens gives the readers a report on how the impossible can be made possible and what goes on in the backend of every outstanding performance in the world of sports.