Herb Douglas, an Olympic medalist who was impressed as a youth by Jesse Owens, emulated him as a monitor and area star after which honored his reminiscence by creating a world sports activities award in Owens’s identify, died on Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was 101 and the oldest residing U.S. Olympic medalist.
The University of Pittsburgh announced his demise, at an prolonged care facility. Douglas was a graduate of the college and had served on its board of trustees.
Douglas was 14 when he met Owens in September 1936, quickly after Owens gained 4 gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, shattering, as a Black man, Hitler’s hopes of utilizing the Games as a showcase for Aryan supremacy. Owens was talking at a faculty in Pittsburgh, the place Douglas lived. Douglas’s mom, Ilessa May France Douglas, had taken him to the occasion.
“When Jesse was leaving the auditorium,” Douglas recalled, “I was standing near the door. I told him that I ran track in junior high school, did 21 feet 8 inches in the long jump, ran 100 yards in 10.4 and high-jumped 6 feet. He told me that was better than he did at my age, and ‘keep up the good work.’”
Douglas did. At the following Summer Games, in (*101*) in 1948 — the 1940 and 1944 Olympics have been canceled due to World War II — he gained the bronze medal within the broad bounce, now often called the lengthy bounce, clearing 24 ft 9 inches. (Willie Steele, one other American, gained with 25 ft 8 inches.)
When Douglas’s profession as a gross sales supervisor and government within the beer and liquor industries started, he usually traveled by means of Chicago, the place Owens lived, and would phone Owens.
“We talked every week for 20 years until he died in 1980,” Douglas stated. “I felt I should do something to memorialize his career. I always tried to imitate him. He was a giving man.”
In 1980, Douglas based the International Amateur Athletic Association, which till 2001 staged an annual black-tie dinner to learn the Jesse Owens Foundation and the United States Olympic Committee. Douglas was the affiliation’s first president and later president emeritus.
Each 12 months, the affiliation offered its showpiece, the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award, for athletic excellence and humanitarianism. The winners have included the lengthy jumper Carl Lewis, the hurdler Edwin Moses, the sprinters Michael Johnson and Florence Griffith Joyner, the middle-distance runner Mary Decker Slaney, the diver Greg Louganis and the speedskater Eric Heiden — all gold medal-winning Olympians.
In 1993, Douglas added a Jesse Owens Global Award for Peace, offered each two years to a world chief with a sports activities background. Among the winners have been Nelson Mandela; Kofi Annan, the previous secretary basic of the United Nations; Juan Antonio Samaranch, the previous head of the International Olympic Committee; and the cable tv pioneer Ted Turner.
The awards and dinners continued into the early 2000s, and Douglas was pleased with their contribution to racial understanding. At the ceremony in 1995, Douglas recalled, “Jesse used to say, ‘We all came here on different boats, but if we all don’t row together, America will sink.’ I’m going to do all I can to keep it afloat.”
Herbert Paul Douglas Jr. was born on March 9, 1922, in Pittsburgh and was raised there. His father ran an car restore enterprise. Herb Jr. graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh and attended Xavier University of Louisiana earlier than transferring to the University of Pittsburgh on a scholarship as a soccer halfback. He and Jimmy Joe Robinson have been the staff’s first African American gamers.
“I don’t mean to be immodest,” Douglas as soon as stated, “but no one could cover me when I went out for a pass. The only problem was we didn’t have a quarterback to get me the ball.”
Douglas, who graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in bodily schooling in 1948, described faculty as an onerous place for Black athletes at the time.
“We were harassed on campus,” he stated. “We were definitely called derogatory names by players on opposing teams. I played one year for Clark Shaughnessy. The next year, Wes Fesler was the coach. He told me to forget football. He said I had a future in track, so I stuck with track.”
He earned a grasp’s diploma in schooling from the college in 1950.
He is survived by his spouse, Minerva (Brice) Douglas; his daughter, Barbara Ralston; 4 grandchildren; and a number of other great-grandchildren. His son, Herbert P. Douglas III, died last year.
In the Fifties and Sixties, Douglas labored in advertising and marketing as a salesman and government for the Pabst Brewing Company. He then joined Schieffelin & Company, later Schieffelin & Somerset Company, which imported wine, Champagne and brandy. When he retired in 1987, he was vp for city market improvement. He remained as a guide till 1993.
In his later years, he additionally served as government producer of “The Renaissance Period of the African American in Sports,” a 2014 documentary film in regards to the Black athletes at the 1936 Olympics.
When Douglas gained his Olympic medal, the primary by a Pittsburgh native, he gave it to his mom. Almost day by day, she took it from its place on her living-room wall and wore it, hoping individuals would ask about it. They did.
When she died in 1996, he positioned the medal in her coffin.
Frank Litsky, a longtime sportswriter for The Times, died in 2018. Alex Traub contributed reporting.