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New documentary showcases life of Jesse Owens, before and after 1936 Berlin Olympics

California Jesse Owens was a legend in track and field. An American hero. But for director Andre Gaines, whose latest documentary, "Triumph: Jesse Owens and the Berlin Olympics," the four-time Olympic gold medalist was so much more.

“Most of the story told about Jesse Owens starts and stops at the Berlin Olympics and winning the four gold medals. But there’s a whole life of a human being before and one after that moment… that moment being an ultimate example of his legacy,” shared Gaines. “He was a father. He was a husband. He was a friend, and he had an entire life that exists before and after that moment.”

The documentary from executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter is a comprehensive documentary covering all the angles to Owens' life. 

Set during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, and just three-years before the start of WWII, Owens made Olympic history after winning the 100-meter dash, long jump, 200-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. But it was his triumph over Hitler’s Aryan supremacy agenda and resilience against racism both abroad and at home in the U.S. that set Owens apart.

“Part of this process as film makers is getting to educate at the same time,” said Gaines. “For folks who think they know the Jesse Owens story, it’s a lot more complicated than it appeared in our history books and any other story that we have been told about the man.”

The two-hour documentary premiers on the History Channel Wednesday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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