Athletics

Jesse Owens 1936 Olympic golds to be auctioned

Jesse Owens (AP)
Jesse Owens (AP)

Los Angeles - Two of the four gold medals won by US athletics legend Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics will go under the hammer in August, the auction house said.

Owens captured the 100 and 200 meters and long jump and helped the US 4x100 relay claim gold as Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler watched.

According to Intelligent Collector, a magazine and website affiliated with Heritage Auctions, Owens gave one of his gold medals to entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and the medal was sold at auction in 2013 for $1 466 574, a record sum for any Olympic item.

But, the report said, Owens used his three other Olympic golds as payment for staying in a Pittsburgh hotel in the mid-1950s and the hotel owner later gave them to a handyman as repayment for previously lent money.

That handyman's son, Albert DeVito, said his father kept two of the medals and returned one to the hotel owner, its whereabouts unknown.

After the 2013 auction, DeVito said, the thought was given to auctioning the medals.

Which medals were awarded for which events remains unknown because they are not specified on the medals, according to the report.

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