At the 1936 Olympics he won gold medals in the 100-and 200-meter dashes, 4x 100-meter relay and broad jump.
" Owens seemed to glory in overcoming obstacles. He preached that if a man worked hard enough, if he endured racial taunts the way Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis had, he would succeed, he would win the white man's respect and things would change."
—KENNY MOORE SI, Aug. 5, 1991
The four-time Olympic discus champion is one of only two athletes to win gold in four consecutive Games ('56, '60, '64,'68).
"It is part of the Oerter mystique that he was never favored to win an Olympics. Especially not his first, in 1956, when he was a 20-year-old at Kansas and faced world-record holder Fortune Gordien, also of the U.S. Yet Oerter won, and the old master took it hard. Gordien went home and raised a son, Marcus. Trained him to be better than his father. Twenty-two years later, at the Pepsi Invitational at UCLA, he sent Marcus, then 23, out to throw against Al Oerter, then 43. Oerter beat him."
—KENNY MOORE SI, July 25, 1988
She was the greatest female track and field athlete ever, with six Olympic medals from 1984 through '96; her '88 heptathlon world record still stands.
"The measure of Joyner-Kersee's greatness came not from a stopwatch or the infernal charts that score the heptathlon. A fuller gauge was the purity of her efforts, which seemed so often to rise up from her soul, and the impact that she had on her sport and on women."
—TIM LAYDEN SI, Aug. 3, 1998