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Bidding for Jesse Owens gold medal nears $300,000

Bidding on Jesse Owens' gold medal from the 1936 Berlin Olympics has reached $276,000.
(Raquel Dillon / Associated Press)

Bidding for a Jesse Owens gold medal from the 1936 Berlin Olympics had reached $278,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, but had not met the reserve price.

The whereabouts of the other three golds that Owens won that summer is not known. His performance was historically significant because the Games were overseen by Adolph Hitler, who hoped to use them as a showcase for the Nazi party.

“Obviously, that’s one of the most poignant moments in the history of the Olympic Games,” Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, told reporters in a teleconference after a USOC board meeting Tuesday. “We’d love to see that medal stay with [Owens’] family or be in a place where people can see it.”

Owens long ago gave the medal to a friend, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, whose family has now put it on the block through SCP Auctions in Orange County.

Last month, the auctioneer estimated that bidding could reach $1 million. The online auction runs through Dec. 7.

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