Jesse Owens‘ Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal are up for sale, expected to garner six figures each by the end of an ongoing SCP auction on Saturday.
“Our family has cherished the items in this collection for many years,” Marlene Owens-Rankin, one of Owens’ daughters, said in a press release. “In the interest of fairness to our families and because of the number of items in the collection, we made the decision to put the memorabilia up for auction. We hope that the majority of the items will end up with collectors who wish to share them with the public so that the collection will be a source of enjoyment and inspiration for as many people as possible for generations to come.”
Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, triumphing in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany by taking the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.
One of those gold medals was auctioned in 2013 for $1,466,574, the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. Two more were said last April to be auctioned last August, but there are no widespread reports of the sales actually happening.
Before Owens’ death in 1980, the sprinter reportedly said he had lost the four gold medals. The German government replaced them, and they now rest at Ohio State, Owens’ alma mater.
Owens’ Presidential Medal of Freedom was given to him by President Gerald Ford in 1976. His Congressional Gold Medal was awarded posthumously in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. They are the highest civilian awards in the U.S.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.