To many, visiting an Olympic stadium means immersing oneself in the fun and glory of witnessing physical excellence, as the world’s best athletes shatter records, establishing new heights of human acheivement. The Olympic Games bring a sense of togetherness, inspiration, and motivation that no other sporting event can. Thisis the world’s sports competition with more than 200 nations participating.
Sri Chinmoy, renowned spiritual leader, idolized Jesse Owens as a child and was a lifelong admirer of both his athletic capabilities and his vision of a world of equality and peace.
In March 24th, 1985, when although the stands were empty, tracks bare and the stadium silent,Sri Chinmoy could still feel the treasured memories of inspired deeds in the Olympics as he stepped into Berlin stadium to honor the memory of Jesse Owens, an athletic legend.
This same stadium, built for the 1936 Olympics hosted one of the most memorable events the world has ever known to date. As a young African American man, Jesse Owens was a hero to every country that cherishes freedom. As a political leader, Jesse was monumental, as an Olympic athlete, Jesse defied all odds conquering the world’s best athletes to become the first person to win four Olympic gold medals.
As Sri Chinmoy circled the 400-meter track, he absorbed himself in the heroics of his childhood athletic idol, Jesse Owens, who had in the same tracks broken and set records that were unbeatable for years, despite the challenge of being a black American man on the soils of Nazi Germany.
“There are many ways to become happy, but I feel that the easiest and most effective way is to outwardly run.”
As the moments played out in Sri Chinmoy’s mind, he remembered all that Jesse Owens stood for on the tracks and off the tracks. He recalled his meeting with the legend on November 2nd, 1972, in New York when his struggle to make the world a better place was rekindled by the kind words of Jesse Owens:”I believe very much in what you are doing. I am an admirer of yours,” he told Sri Chinmoy, “I will preach my belief in your philosophy. You are inspiring people, motivating them to the bigger, better side of life.” These two heroes are remembered today for their contributions to humanity, and indeed, their stories are an inspiration to millions of individuals who are in pursuit of breaking records out of the norm.