President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jesse Owens
Owens said President Franklin D. Roosevelt, not Hitler, snubbed him.
In the immediate aftermath of the Berlin Games, a myth arose that Hitler, enraged at the triumph of an African American, refused to congratulate Owens on his victories because he failed to shake his hand. However, the press reported that the German leader gave the American sprinter a “friendly little Nazi salute,” and Owens said that the two exchanged congratulatory waves. In fact, it was the conduct of Roosevelt– who never invited Owens to the White House or acknowledged his triumphs–that disappointed the Olympic champion. “Hitler didn’t snub me—it was our president who snubbed me,” he said months after the Games. “The president didn’t even send me a telegram.”
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