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DICK'S Sporting Goods

In a time when racism was infecting Germany and segregation was commonplace in the U.S., one man shattered world records, bridging differences with speed and grace.

That man was Jesse Owens, a black track and field star from Cleveland, Ohio, who had been breaking records since his high school days. On Aug. 4, 1936, at the Olympic Games in Berlin, he not only shattered a record, he foiled some of Hitler's propaganda plans.

Berlin had already won the bid to host the 1936 Olympics, a few years after the Nazi Party rose to power. It was a gesture of inclusion on behalf of the Olympic committee after Germany was devastated by World War I, but fascism was gaining ground in Germany as the Olympics approached.


In response to reports of Jewish athletes being banned from competing on the German Olympic teams, the U.S. and other countries threatened to boycott the 1936 Games.

Many Americans even began calling the 1936 event "The Nazi Games."

[rebelmouse-image 19397960 dam="1" original_size="1024x754" caption="Fritz Schilgen carries the torch in the 1936 Olympic Games. Image via Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Fritz Schilgen carries the torch in the 1936 Olympic Games. Image via Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe/Wikimedia Commons.

"The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed or race," the president of the American Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, responded to Germany’s persecution of Jewish athletes, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia.

However, many black athletes thought the boycott was arbitrary because they suffered racism at home on a daily basis. They viewed the Olympics as a place to transcend racism and change ideas about what it meant to be an American.

Since Germany wanted to avoid a boycott, they promised to include Jewish athletes on their Olympic teams and refrain from promoting Nazi ideology during the Games.

After much deliberation, it was eventually decided that the U.S. would compete.

Germany pretended to put on a show of tolerance and strength as the Olympics host. Nazi propaganda was hidden. Anti-Semitic imagery was temporarily removed. Germany’s 1936 Olympic team included one Jewish athlete, fencer Helene Mayer. But of course, this was nothing but a charade — a form of propaganda in itself. Of course, the Third Reich intended to use the very first televised Olympics (a big deal for all involved) to their advantage.

Not only was Hitler going to show the world he was building a master race, he was going to make a film about it.

He employed Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to film the 1936 Games.

[rebelmouse-image 19397961 dam="1" original_size="600x421" caption="Leni Riefenstahl behind the scenes. Photo by Oswald Burmeister/German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Leni Riefenstahl behind the scenes. Photo by Oswald Burmeister/German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons.

The footage was indeed released in two parts, titled "Olympia Part I: Festival of the Nations" and "Olympia Part II: Festival of Beauty." The two films were released in 1938, showcasing the Nazi ideal of athletic Aryan bodies, cultivated into machines ready to serve the state.

But here’s the thing — as much as Riefenstahl tried to follow her mandate to show Aryan supremacy and not include footage of black athletes, Owens made the final cut. In fact, he makes direct eye contact with the camera before his long jump win.

Even Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite propagandist, couldn’t hide the truth of Owens' amazing athletic talents.

Owens’ defiant move followed by a series of wins effectively dashed Hitler’s dreams of declaring German superiority.

[rebelmouse-image 19397962 dam="1" original_size="871x1197" caption="Jesse Owens at start of record breaking 200 meter race during the Olympic Games 1936 in Berlin. Photo via U.S. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Jesse Owens at start of record breaking 200 meter race during the Olympic Games 1936 in Berlin. Photo via U.S. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/Wikimedia Commons.

On Aug. 3, 1936, he won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash event. The next day, he won the long jump and then the 200-meter sprint on Aug. 5. On Aug. 9, Owens won the gold for the 4x100-meter sprint relay. The medal sweep was a record-breaking feat and was not repeated until 1984.

With only his speed, Owens managed to prove Hitler’s racist theories wrong.

Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and one of his ministers, wrote in his memoir, "Inside the Third Reich" that "[Hitler] was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens."

In the end, it wasn’t German Olympic victories that made the news, it was Jesse Owens.

[rebelmouse-image 19397963 dam="1" original_size="547x690" caption="Jesse Owens in the long jump competition at the 1936 Olympics. Photo via German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Jesse Owens in the long jump competition at the 1936 Olympics. Photo via German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons.

Between the filming and the "Olympia" release, any interest Hollywood previously had in Riefenstahl’s film was disrupted. Eventually, the film was recut into instructional videos for British military recruits. The Nazi material was removed.

Sports have a way of bridging gaps and bringing people of all different backgrounds together, from the athletes, to the cheap seats. Whether it’s athletes from countries across the world competing in the Olympic Games or parents cheering for their child’s baseball game, both spectators and players come together as a team to perform or to cheer.

Though the U.S. still had huge strides to make, and the atrocities of Nazi Germany had yet to be revealed, Owens for a brief moment triumphed over the racism of the 1930s. Breaking records and defying expectations, he became an American hero and a legend shared over the decades.

His historic win carries a message we should take into the present day. Racism has no place in society. It leads to the darkest of places. But discrimination and intolerance is outshined by truth even in the most unexpected times.

This story was produced as part of a campaign called "17 Days" with DICK'S Sporting Goods. These stories aim to shine a light on real occurrences of sports bringing people together.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.