Modern Olympian Tries Running With 1936 Record-Breaking Olympic Legend's Gear

Andre De Grasse vs. Jesse Owens.

Like all modern professional athletes, Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse enjoys the availability of the best gear and training in the world. His hard work has certainly paid off. At this year's Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, the 21-year-old De Grasse won the bronze medal for the men's 100-meter with a time of 9.91 seconds — a mere whisper behind gold-winner Usain Bolt and silver medalist Justin Gatlin. 

But before there were programs to perfect an athlete's mechanics and featherweight shoes that promise all but the ability to fly, there was Jesse Owens.


In 1935, 21-year-old Jesse Owens — then a student at Ohio State University — arrived at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Big Ten Championships. According to the biography on his tribute website, Owens was suffering from a sore back after a fall and was unsure if he'd be able to compete. 

By the time the day was over, however, Jesse Owens had broken three world records and tied for a fourth, accomplishing all of this in just 45 minutes.

In 1936, Owens went on to Olympic Games in Berlin where he took home the gold for America in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 4x100-meter relay, and long jump events. He tied the world record in the 100-meter (10.3 seconds), broke the Olympic record in the 200-meter (20.7 seconds), broke the world and Olympic records in the first leg of the 400-meter relay (39.8 seconds), and broke the Olympic record for the long jump with a superhuman 26-foot, 5-1/4-inch jump. 

It was the first time an American had won four gold medals at the Olympics.

All this without technology more sophisticated than running spikes. Eighty years ago. 

The Canadian Broadcasting Company recently posed the question of how a modern athlete might compare to an athlete of Owens' era if they had to compete using that antiquated gear. Fortunately, De Grasse was quite game to put himself up against his American counterpart. 

Take a look and see what happened:



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