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Jesse Owens’ daughter: ‘Race’ brings back (some very painful) memories

Jesse Owens

August 1936: US athlete Jesse Owens (1913 - 1980) competing in a race during the Olympic Games at Berlin. He won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, 100 metres, 200 metres, long jump and the 4 x 100 metres relay. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

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One of Jesse Owens’ daughters described watching a screening of “Race,” a film about the sprinter who triumphed at the Berlin 1936 Olympics, as “painful,” among other emotions.

“You do a screening, and you find yourselves exhausted because it’s so emotionally draining,” Marlene Owens Rankin said, according to the Times of London. “It’s your family’s life out there. It’s very difficult. It conjures up so many memories, good ones, bad ones, and some very painful. It makes you view it from a spectator’s perspective and it will show the kind of pressures my father had for most of his life. The fact he managed so well is, in a way, painful.”

“Race” hits theaters Feb. 19. Watch the film’s full trailer here.

The Times story detailed the myth that Adolf Hitler refused to shake hands with Owens, the winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Games.

“I don’t think he ever felt he was snubbed by Hitler,” Rankin said, according to the report, adding that Owens was more “bothered” by not being invited to the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Olympics. “He knew that Hitler might have been greeting other athletes who were medal winners, and he knew that Hitler said he would greet everyone or no one, but he did not feel individually snubbed. And I don’t think he really cared, frankly.”

Rankin also said that the families of Owens and Luz Long, the German who famously became friends with Owens during the Berlin 1936 long jump, have stayed in touch.
“It’s interesting because my son was in Germany and was in a pub with a colleague,” she said, according to the report. “He mentioned that Jesse was his grandfather. His colleague was amazed and said she wanted him to talk to someone. She got her best friend on the phone and it turned out she was Luz Long’s granddaughter.”

Rankin has publicly backed “Race” for nearly two years. She attended an international sales launch at the Berlin Olympic Stadium in February 2014, according to Variety.

MORE: ‘Race’ film poster unveiled

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