Answers for all questions from the lesson ‘My Greatest Olympic’ included in the CHSE +2 book Invitation to English.
My Greatest Olympic Prize by Jesse Owens
Think it out -1
1. Why were nationalistic feelings running high during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin?
Answer .. Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany, felt that Aryans are genetically superior to other races. Germans, being Aryans by descent would therefore fare much better than other national teams. Such baseless pride fuelled nationalist feelings among the host Germans and the guest teams too.
2. ‘I wasn’t too worried about all this’. What does “this” refer to – Hitler’s beliefs or winning a gold medal?
Answer .. ‘this’ refers to Hitler’s irrational posturing about the German teams assumed superiority that he bragged about.
3. Why wasn’t Owens worried?
Answer .. Own had trained hard for six years for the event, had just recently recorded a spectacular leap in his college games.
4. Why did everyone expect Owens to win the long jump easily?
Answer … Owen’s recent performances were very impressive, and most sports lovers were aware of it. So, Owens was a favourite for winning the medal.
5. What was the surprise that awaited Jesse Owens in Berlin?
Answer .. The appearance of a tall lanky German long jumper by the name Lung surprised Owens. Luz Long registered an impressive 26 feet in his practice jump. His emergence caught Owns off guard.
6. What did he learn from people about Luz Long?
Answer .. Luz Long had been kept in the shadows by Adolf Hitler, so that his appearance and jumps could make others like Owens nervous.
7. Do you think Nazis’ Aryan-superiority theory meant that Germans were superior to Negroes? How did Owens feel about it – angry or bothered?
Answer .. Such a theory was both scientifically baseless and smacked of arrogance. Aryan descent couldn’t bestow special sports skills on the host team. Owns felt a bit angry hearing about the claim, but chose to ignore it.
8. What made Owens determined to beat Luz Long?
Answer.. Had Luz Long won, Hitler’s racial superiority theory would have been vindicated. Owens didn’t want this. So, he went all out to win the event.
Think it out – 2
1. What does a coach say about an angry athlete?
Answer .. According to the coach, angry athletes are prone to make mistakes. So, before a competition, the athlete should be calm.
2. What were the results of the first two qualifying jumps for Owens?
Answer .. Owens made technical errors while starting his leap. He made similar blunders in the first two attempts that made him very angry with himself.
3. Why did Owens kick the pit?
Answer .. Owens was venting his frustration with himself after making two blunders.
4. Who offered Owens a firm handshake? Was he friendly or hostile?
Answer .. Luz Long, his German counterpart, stepped forward to pacify Owens. He was very friendly.
5. Why did Long speak to Owens during the trials? Did he mean to make friendship with Owens or to find out what was troubling him?
Answer . Luz Long was a large-hearted man. He was a true athlete. He sincerely wanted Owens to ggive his best. So, he came forward to cool the nerves of Owens.
6. “he really looked the part” – What does this mean? Does it mean Long was trying to play the part of an Aryan or he looked as if he belonged to a superior race?
Answer .. Luz Long didn’t believe in the racial superiority of the Aryans. It was apparent from his speaking and his body language.
7. How did Luz Log help Jesse Owens in qualifying for the final jumps?
Answer .. Since Owens was overstepping the line before the jump, Luz Long drew a line just behind it, and told Owens to start from there. This simple trick enabled Owens to avoid the error he had made in two earlier occasions.
8. “Tomorrow is what counts.” – What did Long mean by this? Does he mean that Owens would win the next day, or their performance the next day would matter much?
Answer .. The finals were scheduled for the next day. Hence, it was said “Tomorrow is what counts.”
9. Did Owens qualify for the final jump? How did he do that?
Answer .. Owens qualified for the final jump by drawing a line before the final line and making sure to start from it.
Think it out – 3
1. When did Owens and Long realize that they had become friends?
Answer .. Luz Long broke his own record. This made Owens to try still harder and give it his best. At the end, when Owens won, Luz Long sportively came forward to shake Owens’s hands warmly. This gesture made Owens feel that he has found a real friend in Luz Long.
2. Who was Coubertin? What was his ideal?
Answer .. Coubertin was the founder of modern Olympics. He felt that the Games should inspire more and more participation, and should also promote keener competition among athletes, no matter who loses or who wins.
3. Why has Luz Long been called a fine example of Coubertin’s ideal?
Answer .. Owen at a point of time felt that he could lose the medal, but instead of feeling disheartened, he became determined to strive his best. Such attitude is the true Olympic ideal.
4. What do you think was the greatest Olympic Prize for Jesse Owens – the gold medal he won in long jump, or the friendship he formed with Luz Long?
Answer .. Jesse Owens won the medal and wrote his name in history. However, personally to discover a friend like Luz Long meant more for him. It was truly a gratifying experience.