When looking over the famous 1936 Berlin Olympics, I found out that Hitler did not snub Jesse Owens, but did other Olympic winners (though I don't doubt that Jesse would've been snubbed by him in the first place). While Germany won most of the events, how often did they lose to black athletes?

  • 4
    The question is more convoluted than necessary, and I am not sure how exactly you define "Germany losing to blacks". Isn't this, basically, "how many black people did win gold at the 1936 Olympics"?
    – DevSolar
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:40
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    I am not willing to check out each of the 100+ gold medalists, but from the US team alone I could identify at least John Woodruff (800m), Archie Williams (400m), Cornelius Johnson (high jump).
    – DevSolar
    Jun 13, 2016 at 14:01
  • 2
    It's well-known that Jesse Owens won the 100-m dash and the 200-m dash in the 1936 Olympics, but apparently the silver medalists in both events were also African-American: Ralph Metcalfe and Mack Robinson (older brother of Jackie.) Jun 14, 2016 at 13:35
  • 4
    If you want to be more historically correct it was president Roosevelt that snubbed Jesse Owens, not Hitler, as only the white athletes were invited to see and meet Roosevelt.
    – liftarn
    Jan 27, 2017 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


Limiting ourselves to the USA team, there were 18 African-American Olympians on the 1936 USA Olympic Team. These athletes won a total of 13 medals. And in winning these 13 medals, the African-American athletes finished ahead of the top German athlete every time:

  • 100-m dash: Jesse Owens won gold & Ralph Metcalfe won silver. Germany did not win a medal.
  • 200-m dash: Jesse Owens won gold & Mack Robinson won silver. Germany did not win a medal.
  • 400-m dash: Archie Williams won gold & James LuValle won bronze. Germany did not win a medal.
  • 800-m dash: John Woodruff won gold. Germany did not win a medal.
  • 110-m hurdles: Fritz Pollard won bronze. Germany did not win a medal.
  • 4 x 100-m relay: Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe were on the USA team (along with Foy Draper and Frank Wykoff), which won gold. Germany won the bronze medal.
  • Long jump: Jesse Owens won gold. Germany won the silver medal.
  • High jump: Cornelius Johnson won gold, and Dave Albritton won silver. Germany did not win a medal.
  • Bantamweight boxing: "California" Jackie Wilson won silver. Germany did not win a medal.

I did look for athletes with African ancestry from other countries in the 1936 Olympics, but I was unable to find any. Very few African countries participated in the 1936 Olympics (most of them weren't even independent at the time), so any other athletes of African ancestry at these games would probably have been from Canada, a South American country, or possibly Great Britain or France.

EDIT: I managed to find a non-USA athlete of African descent who also won a medal at the 1936 Games: Phil Edwards, who won a bronze medal for Canada in the 800-m dash. As noted above, Germany did not win a medal in that event.


My uncle, "California" Jackie Wilson won the silver medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics at bantamweight. enter image description here

  • 1
    The other answer already mentioned him I believe, but +1 for the awesome picture.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 26, 2017 at 15:14

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