Nazi Germany used the 1936 Olympic Games for propaganda purposes. The Nazis promoted an image of a new, strong, and united Germany. Their athletes were to be displayed as the perfect version of the Aryan race. The joke at the time was Aryan- Blond,Blue Eyed and tall like Hitler,thin and athletic like Goering and the 20/20 vision of Himmler.
Carl Ludwig “Lu(t)z” Long (27 April 1913– 14 July 1943) was a German Olympic long-jumper, notable for winning Silver in the event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and for giving advice to his competitor, Jesse Owens, who went on to win the gold medal for the long jump.
Long was killed in action serving in the German Army during World War II. For his actions in the spirit of sportsmanship, he was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal.
The 21-year-old, 1.84 m tall Long had finished third in the 1934 European Championships in Athletics with 7.25 m. By the summer of 1936, Long held the European record in the long jump and was eager to compete for the first time against Jesse Owens, the American world-record holder. The long jump on August 4 was Long’s first event against Owens, and Long met his expectations by setting an Olympic record during the preliminary round. In contrast, Owens fouled on his first two jumps. Knowing that he needed to reach at least 7.15 m (about 23 feet 3 inches) on his third jump in order to advance to the finals in the afternoon, Owens sat on the field, dejected.
Speaking to Long’s son, Owens said in 1964 that Long went to him and told him to try to jump from a spot several inches behind the take-off board. Since Owens routinely made distances far greater than the minimum of 7.15 m required to advance, Long surmised that Owens would be able to advance safely to the next round without risking a foul trying to push for a greater distance. On his third qualifying jump,
Owens was calm and jumped with at least four inches (10 centimeters) to spare, easily qualifying for the finals.In the finals competition later that day, the jumpers exceeded the old Olympic record five times.Owens went on to win the gold medal in the long jump with 8.06 m while besting Long’s own record of 7.87 m.
Long won the silver medal for second place and was the first to congratulate Owens: they posed together for photos and walked arm-in-arm to the dressing room.
Owens said, “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment”.
Not only does Long ‘only’ win the Silver medal he also shakes hands with and embraces Owens in a true sports man way.
The Nazi leadership were not impressed by this in fact they were furious about it. A day after the event Luz received a phone call from Rudolf Hess telling him “Don’t you ever embrace a negro again”
Luz Long won the German long jump championship 3 more times in 1937,1938 and 1939.
Long served in the Wehrmacht during World War II, having the rank of Obergefreiter. During the Allied invasion of Sicily, Long was killed in action on 14 July 1943.He was buried in the war cemetery of Motta Sant’Anastasia, in Sicily.