[1]It was the summer of 1936. The Olympic Games were being held in Berlin. Because Adolf Hitler childishly insisted that his performers were members of a “master race,” nationalistic feelings were at an all-time high.

[2] I wasn’t too worried about all this. I’d trained, sweated and disciplined myself for six years, with the Games in mind. While I was going over on the boat, all I could think about was taking home one or two of those gold medals. I had my eyes especially on the running broad jump. A year before, as a sophomore at the Ohio State, I’d set the world’s record of 26 feet 8 1/4 inches. Nearly everyone expected me to win this event.

[3] I was in for a surprise. When the time came for the broad-jump trials, I was startled to see a tall boy hitting the pit at almost 26 feet on his practice leaps! He turned out to be a German named Luz Long. I was told that Hitler hoped to win the jump with him.

[4] I guessed that if Long won, it would add some new support to the Nazis’ “master race” (Aryansuperiority) theory. After all, I am a Negro. Angry about Hitler’s ways, I determined to go out there and really show Der Fuhrer and his master race who was superior and who wasn’t.

[5] An angry athlete is an athlete who will make mistakes, as any coach will tell you. I was no exception. On the first of my three qualifying jumps, I leaped from several inches beyond the takeoff board for a foul. On the second jump, I fouled even worse. “Did I come 3,000 miles for this?” I thought bitterly. “To foul out of the trials and make a fool of myself?”

[6] Walking a few yards from the pit, I kicked disgustedly at the dirt. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to look into the friendly blue eyes of the tall German broad jumper. He had easily qualified for the finals on his first attempt. He offered me a firm handshake.

[7] “Jesse Owens, I’m Luz Long. I don’t think we’ve met.” He spoke English well, though with a German twist to it.

“Glad to meet you,” I said. Then, trying to hide my nervousness, I added, “How are you?”

“I’m fine. The question is: How are you?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Something must be eating you,” he said–proud the way foreigners are when they’ve mastered a bit of American slang. “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed.”

“Believe me, I know it,” I told him–and it felt good to say that to someone.

[1] 1936年夏天。奥林匹克运动会在柏林举行。由于阿道夫・希特勒幼稚地坚持他的选手是“优等民族”的成员,民族主义情绪空前高涨。

[2] 我对这一切并不太担心。六年来,我心里想着这次奥运会,一直在坚持刻苦训练,从严要求自己。我乘船来时,就一心想带一两块金牌回家。我特别想在急行跳远项目上夺取金牌。一年前,我在俄亥俄州上大学二年级时,就创下了26英尺81/4英寸的世界纪录。几乎所有的人都认为我会赢得这项赛事。

[3] 然而,事情出乎我的意料。到了急行跳远预选赛时,我吃惊地看见一个高个儿小伙子试跳时就落在了沙坑将近26英尺的地方!原来他是个德国人,名叫卢茨・隆格。有人告诉我,希特勒就希望靠他来获得跳远冠军。

[4] 我心想,如果隆格获胜,那势必给纳粹的“优等民族“(雅利安人优异)论调增加新的佐证。毕竟,我是个黑人。我很气个过希特勒的那一套,决心显一显身手,着实让“元首大人”和他的优等民族看看谁优谁劣。

[5] 任何一个教练员都会对你说.运动员一生气就会犯错误。我也不例外。预赛三跳中的第一跳,我踏过起跳板几英寸犯了现。第二跳时,则犯规更严重。“难道我从3000英里外跑到这儿就为了这个结局?”我痛苦地想道,“为了在预赛里就犯规出局丢自己的丑吗?”

[6] 我从沙坑里走出几码远,气愤地踢着沙土。忽然,我感到有一只手搭在我的肩膀上。我转过脸去,瞧见了那个高个子德国跳远运动员一双友好的蓝眼睛。他头一跳就轻松地取得了决赛资格。他主动用力地握了握我的手。

[7] “杰西・欧文斯,我叫卢茨・隆格。我想我们以前没见过面。”他英语说得不错,尽管带一点德国味儿。




“一定有什么困扰着你,”他说――显得很得意,外国人掌握了一点美国俚语都会这样。“你就是闭着眼睛也能进入决赛。” “相信我,这我知道,”我对他说--能跟别人说这话,心里觉得好受些。

[8] For the next few minutes we talked together. I didn’t tell Long what was “eating” me, but he seemed to understand my anger, and he took pains to reassure me. Although he’d been schooled in the Nazi youth movement, he didn’t believe in the Aryan-supremacy business any more than I did. We laughed over the fact that he really looked the part, though. An inch taller than I, he had a lean, muscular frame, clear blue eyes, blond hair and a strikingly handsome face. Finally, seeing that I had calmed down somewhat, he pointed to the take-off board.

[9] “Look,” he said. “Why don’t you draw a line a few inches behind the board and aim at making your take-off from there? You’ll be sure not to foul, and you certainly ought to jump far enough to qualify. What does it matter if you’re not first in the trials? Tomorrow is what counts.”

[10] Suddenly all the tension seemed to leave my body as the truth of what he said hit me. Confidently, I drew a line a full foot behind the hoard and proceeded to jump from there. I qualified with almost a foot to spare.

[11] That night I walked over to Luz Long’s room in the Olympic village to thank him. I knew that if it hadn’t been for him I probably wouldn’t be jumping in the finals the following day. We sat and talked for two hours–about track and field, ourselves, the world situation, a dozen other things.

[12] When I finally got up to leave, we both knew that a real friendship had been formed. Luz would go out to the field the next day trying to beat me if he could. But I knew that he wanted me to do my best–even if that meant my winning.

[13] As it turned out, Luz broke his own past record. In doing so, he pushed me on to a peak performance. I remember that at the instant I landed from my final jump–the one which set the Olympic record of 26 feet 5 1/16 inches–he was at my side, congratulating me. Despite the fact that Hitler glared at us from the stands not a hundred yards away, Luz shook my hand had–and it wasn’t a fake “smile with a broken heart” sort of grip, either.

[14] All the gold medals and cups I have wouldn’t make a plating on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long at the moment. I realized then that Luz was just what Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Games, must have had in his mind when he said, “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

[8] 然后我们交谈了一会。我没有告诉隆格是什么在“困扰”找,但他却好像知道我心里有气,便竭力安慰我。他尽管接受了纳粹青年运动的教育,却一点也不比我更相信雅利安人优异那一套。不过,他看起来倒确实像个优等民族的人,我俩不由得笑起来了。他比我高一英寸,身材修长,肌肉结实,蓝蓝的眼睛,金黄的头发,还长着一张异常英俊的面孔。后来,他见我有些平静了,便用手指向踏板。

[9] “看,”他说。“你为什么不在踏板后面几英寸的地方划一道线,然后就从那儿起跳呢?你肯定不会犯规,而且足可以跳进决赛。预赛得不到第一又有什么关系呢?明天的才算数。”

[10] 找领悟了他话中的道理,浑身的紧张顿时消失了。我满怀自信,在踏板后方整整一英尺的地方划了一道线,然后就从那儿起跳。我通过了预赛,超出资格标准近一英尺。

[11] 那天晚上,我到奥运村卢茨・隆格的房间去道谢。我知道,要不是多亏了他,我很可能参加不成第二天的决赛。我们坐着谈了两个钟头--谈田径运动,谈我们自己,谈国际局势,以及许多其他事情。

[12] 最后我起身告辞时,我们都发觉彼此己经建立了真正的友谊。卢茨第二天上场要尽力战胜我。可我也知道,他想让我竭尽全力--哪怕那会意味着我取胜。

[13] 结果,卢茨打破了他自己以前的纪录。这样一来,他也促使我发挥到了最佳竞技状态。我记得我最后一跳着地那一瞬间――一那刻我创造了26英尺51/16英寸的奥运会纪录–-他来到我旁边,向我祝贺。尽管希特勒就在不足一百码以外的看台上瞪着我们,卢茨紧紧握着我的手--而且还不是“内心沮丧、强额为笑”的那种虚情假意的握手。

[14] 我当时对卢茨・隆格感受到的是24K纯金般的友谊,我所获得的所有金牌、所有金杯都不足以构成这纯金友情的一个镀层。我这时才意识到,现代奥运会创始人皮埃尔・德・顾拜旦当年心里正是想着卢茨这样的运动员,才这样说道:“奥运会重在参与而不在取胜。生命的关键在于干得出色而不在于征服。”

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