Have A Few Thousand Dollars To Spend? You Can Get Your Hands On Some Historic – And Eerie – Olympic Memorabilia

An Olympic gold medal will only set you back at least $15,000

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Getting your hands on some vintage Olympic track and field memorabilia would be pretty cool; however, it doesn’t come cheap. If you’re looking to get your hands on a piece of running history, it could cost you north of $15,000 USD.

SCP Auctions, an American sports memorabilia shop, just launched its spring auction. Each item is as unique as the story behind it, though some of those stories are a bit eerier than others.

So, what kind of stories, both triumphant and chilling, come along with the timeless memorabilia?

Have A Few Thousand Dollars To Spend? You Can Get Your Hands On Some Historic - And Eerie - Olympic Memorabilia 1

Jim Hines’ Gold Medal

For generations, the title of “The World’s Fastest Human” has symbolized the pinnacle of athletic achievement. Icons like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, and Usain Bolt have all claimed this honor, but none held it as enduringly as Jim Hines

In the tumultuous backdrop of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, amidst racial tensions, this 22-year-old African-American sprinter seized the gold in the 100-meter dash, etching his name in history.

Hines shattered the elusive 10-second barrier for the first time ever and set a world record at the highest altitude ever recorded for a Summer Games.

On October 14, he surged to victory in the 100-meter final, clocking in at 9.95 seconds—an unprecedented feat that marked the fastest electronically timed 100 meters to that date. 

His record stood for an astonishing 15 years until Calvin Smith lowered it to 9.93 in 1983.

A mere week later, Hines added another gold to his collection, anchoring Team USA to a world record in the 4×100-meter Relay.

The ’68 Games are often associated with the brave stance of Hines’ U.S. Track & Field teammates, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who made their iconic Black Power Salute on the podium. 

Post-Olympics, Hines showcased his talents in the NFL, playing as a wide receiver for the Dolphins and Chiefs. 

Recognized for his achievements in sports, he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1979.

You can bid on his 100m Olympic gold medal, which starts at a whopping $15,000. But could it be the key to clocking your own sub-10?

Have A Few Thousand Dollars To Spend? You Can Get Your Hands On Some Historic - And Eerie - Olympic Memorabilia 2

Jesse Owens Card

Jesse Owens of Oakville, Alabama, is an American track-and-field legend. 

His most iconic moment came at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he clinched four gold medals, defying Adolf Hitler’s aim to showcase Aryan supremacy through the Games.

Owens’ extraordinary performance at the 1936 Berlin Games remains etched in history., where he shattered records in the 100-meter run (10.3 sec, Olympic record), the 200-meter run (20.7 sec, world record), the long jump (8.06 meters), and the 4×100-meter relay (39.8 sec). 

Despite rumors of Hitler’s refusal to acknowledge Owens due to his race, the truth was more nuanced; Hitler had ceased public congratulations to all athletes following pressure from the International Olympic Committee.

Have A Few Thousand Dollars To Spend? You Can Get Your Hands On Some Historic - And Eerie - Olympic Memorabilia 3

Renowned for his resilience against tyranny and racial prejudice, Owens was hailed by President Jimmy Carter as a symbol of human perseverance.

His bond with German long jumper Carl Ludwig (“Luz”) Long exemplified historic sportsmanship at the time, as Long’s iconic advice helped Owens secure victory in the long jump event, “jump from a few inches before the takeoff board.”

Up for grabs through SCP is a Jesse Owens card from the 1936 Berlin Olympics on the track. This piece of memorabilia is starting for quite a bit less than Hines’ medal, with the starting bid at only $1,000.

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Summer Olympic Torch

The 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany, were significant for several reasons, but they are perhaps best remembered for the controversy surrounding them, largely due to the political climate of the time and the actions of the Nazi regime in Germany.

  • Nazi Propaganda and Aryan Supremacy: The 1936 Olympics were exploited by the Nazi regime as a propaganda tool to showcase the supposed superiority of the Aryan race. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party sought to use the Games to promote their ideology of racial superiority and to present Germany as a powerful, modern nation to the world.
  • Boycott Calls: There were calls for a boycott of the 1936 Olympics by several countries and organizations due to Germany’s discriminatory policies, particularly against Jews. However, most countries ultimately participated in the Games, despite widespread concerns about the treatment of Jewish athletes and the broader implications of supporting Nazi Germany.
  • Racial Tensions: While the Nazi regime attempted to present an image of inclusivity during the Games, racial tensions persisted. African-American and Jewish athletes faced discrimination and segregation in Berlin, and the Nazi government attempted to downplay or conceal these issues to maintain the facade of unity and harmony.
  • Legacy of Controversy: The 1936 Olympics are remembered as a complex and controversial chapter in Olympic history. While the Games were successful in terms of organization and athletic achievements, they are also remembered for the political exploitation by the Nazi regime and the failure of the international community to adequately address the discriminatory policies of the host country.
Have A Few Thousand Dollars To Spend? You Can Get Your Hands On Some Historic - And Eerie - Olympic Memorabilia 5

On offer from SCP is an Olympic torch from the 1936 Olympic Games.

This was the first Olympics in which an Olympic torch relay was held, with the flame traveling from Olympia, Greece, through Europe and finishing at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

The relay took place over 12 days and covered 3,187 km.

Despite some eerie backstories, owning a timeless piece of Olympic memorabilia would be pretty cool. Would you ever want to get your hands on a piece of history, even if it was from a chilling time?

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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