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Luz Long’s Olympic silver medal for sale from Jesse Owens’ long jump duel

One of the most important Olympic medals ever awarded is up for auction – the silver medal won in 1936 by Germany Luz Longthe long jumper who walked arm in arm in the stadium with Jesse Owens celebrate their triumphs while adolf hitler watched from the stands.

Long’s family decided to auction off the medal and other collectibles from the German jumper’s career. Long was killed during World War II in 1943.

The auction house selling the medal labeled Long’s collection “The Beacon of Hope”.

“The Jesse Owens story never seems to end,” Long’s granddaughter said, Julia Kellner-Long, in a telephone interview from his home in Munich. “My grandfather was always an inspiration and influence in how I choose to see the world, and I think that’s something the outside world needs. Now more than ever. gives us hope.”

Long was steeped in Olympic tradition at the Berlin Games when he was the first to congratulate Owens on his long jump triumph. Later, they walked around the stadium together and posed for photos.

There’s also the story Owens told about Long approaching him after fouling on his first two attempts in the preliminary round. With just one more try to qualify for the final, Owens said Long suggested he take one foot out in front of the board, to make sure he didn’t foul on his final try. Owens took that advice and won the title – one of four he won in Berlin – with an Olympic record jump of 8.06 meters (26 feet, 5 1/2 inches).

Owens was black, and his resounding success at those Olympics would have annoyed Hitler by shattering the Nazi myth of Aryan racial superiority.

The camaraderie between Owens and Long, and the ensuing relationship between the men and their families, is often held up as the best example of what the Olympics are meant to be – a peaceful gathering of people from different countries and cultures who established their differences put aside in the spirit of competition.

“It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me,” Owens said, years later. “You can melt away all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a veneer on the 24 carat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that time. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us kiss .

The decision to sell came shortly after Luz’s son (and Julia’s father), Kai, died at the age of 80. Kellner-Long said the great responsibility of preserving his grandfather’s memorabilia should be given to someone, or a museum, that has the time and resources to do so. The family also wanted to use the sale to rekindle Long and Owens’ story.

“Even 86 years later, shining a beacon of hope is an important and realistic value, especially in a time of growing racism, growing exclusion and hatred,” Kellner-Long said.

The auction house started bidding for Long’s medal at $50,000 and estimated the value between $500,000 and $1 million. The tender runs until October 15. The value of Olympic medals on the open market varies widely. One of Owens’ four gold medals in 1936 brought in $1.46 million. Bill RussellThe gold medal from the 1956 Olympics recently sold for $587,500.

David Kohler of SCP Auctions, which is organizing the sale, said the medal was about Long, but also “the story of courage and the athlete and what he did there”.

Long did not live long enough to see his legacy come to fruition. He was killed in 1943 during the Battle of Saint-Pierre on the Italian island of Sardinia. Shortly before this, he wrote a letter to Owens, which he predicted would be “the last letter I will write”.

In it, Long asked Owens to go to Germany after the war and find his son.

“Tell her, Jesse, what the times were like when we weren’t separated by war,” Long wrote. “I say – tell him how things can be between men on this earth.”

Owens and Kai Long have met several times over the years, including at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in 1966. Owens was later a best man at Kai’s wedding.

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