Race refers to a person's physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color or a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course. In this case, the movie Race refers to both and is an enthralling story of the life and times of Jesse Owens. As both an avid lover of history and a Track & Field athlete it was nice that this movie captures the story of Jesse (JC) Owens without being simply a list of his life events back to back. It absolutely highlights significant events like his record setting hour in Ann Arbor, Michigan when he captured 3 different World Records and his 1936 Olympic triumphs. However, it is so much more than a list of accomplishments. It is a truly poignant story of the times that Jess lived in and the challenges he faced. It is a movie that captured the daily racism that Jesse faced and his personal struggles as he rose to fame so quickly. Yet at the same time it is an amazing behind the scenes look at Germany, their desire to host the Olympic Games and what that means in contrast to the Nazi beliefs. An interesting story of the IOC and their behind the scenes work to try to get Germany to a place where they would be less controversial and more acceptable to other countries. As an athlete it is was an inspiring story of hard work, natural talent and developing skills to block out the noise. This is a movie that I think will appeal to many but will absolutely appeal to athletes. I can’t wait to go see it again and my sister can’t wait for it to come out on DVD as she has already stated we need to purchase it. Don’t wait another minute... Go see it!
The movie "Race" based on the story of Jesse Owens, came out in theaters last week. This was perfect timing for me, getting ready to race at the USATF 50K national championships, being held concurrently with the men's 50K Olympic Trials. I thought this was the perfect movie to get me pumped up and fired up for my race. I was totally right. But what I wasn't prepared for was how much introspection it caused.
While I am decently versed in history, and of course know the struggles that blacks faced in the 1930s, as well as the horrors that Jews and blacks faced in Nazi Germany, "Race" was able to bring you inside the world of the athletic politics, as well as feel some of the emotion that these minority athletes faced, both in their everyday lives and as part of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. I tend to think of Olympic greats as strong, confident people. Having an idol-like view of Jesse Owens I thought the same about him. "Race" portrayed a different view, one of a young man full of self doubt and struggling to find a place to fit in. A guy who just wanted to run and be free; free from societal pressure, free from color, free from hate.
This story touched me on a very personal level as well. In 2012 I was the first woman to compete in a men's Olympic Trials event, the 50K race walk. There was a lot of opposition to my competing with the men, negative things being said about me from both men and women. There were women nationally and internationally hoping for me to succeed so that steps could be made for the inclusion of a women's 50K at the Olympics. I felt a lot of pressure; pressure to succeed or let women down, pressure from myself. Pressure not to fail so that people wouldn't say "I told you she wasn't good enough to be there." But watching what Jesse Owens had to go through was just indescribable. To have the weight of your people resting on you. the weight of your country on your shoulders. The knowledge that an ideal; win and prove Nazi ideology wrong, lose and have them gloat that they were right, rests on how well you perform, I can't even imagine the mental turmoil he must've endured.
But he succeeded! He was able to overcome self-doubt, pressure, hatred, and the hopes of millions of people. And what a message that is. We can all strive through the hard times and come out better and stronger than before. I highly recommend to anyone who has a passion for sport to see this movie. The acting was great, the cinematography was fantastic, and the story is one that can't be beat. Go out, see "Race," and be inspired!
It is easy to just say I liked this movie, and I think you will too. It isn’t just because this movie is about track star Jesse Owens, it isn’t just because the acting and cinematography is excellent, it is mostly because it will make you stop and think about how you relate to people that are different from you. When you finally realize that no one looks exactly like you, but you actually have more in common with virtually everyone, than what is different about you, something changes. We all faces challenges, we all have stress, we all have fears, we all have gifts, we all have desires, we all succeed at something, and we all fail. We can all work hard, we can all stand back up when knocked down, we can all stare straight into the unknown, only really knowing it will be difficult, and choose to move forward. Race gets that deep. Go to watch a movie about one of the most decorated track and field athletes of all time, but be open to what the movie is really about. My wife summed it up like this. Race Movie; A time capsule of cultural awareness and athletic achievement. Race runs you through a multitude of emotions as the career of Jesse Owens develops, with the lessons of triumph and sportsmanship comes a testimony of blind faith and perseverance with a hint of determination.