Jesse Owens ties world record at National High School Championship
Owens had taken different jobs in his spare time: He delivered groceries, loaded freight cars and worked in a shoe repair shop.
During this period Owens realized that he had a passion for running.
Throughout his life Owens attributed the success of his athletic career to the encouragement of Charles Riley, his junior-high track coach at Fairmount Junior High, who had put him on the track team. Since Owens worked in a shoe repair shop after school, Riley allowed him to practice before school instead.
Owens first came to national attention when he was a student of East Technical High School in Cleveland; he equaled the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard (91 m) dash and long-jumped 24 feet 9 ½ inches (7.56 m) at the 1933 National High School Championship in Chicago. Owens's record at East Technical High School directly inspired Harrison Dillard to take up track sports.
By the age of seven he was expected to pick 100 pounds of cotton a day. At nine his family moved to Cleveland. When a teacher asked his name, he answered, "J.C.," which is what he was called. The teacher misunderstood his Southern drawl and the name was Jesse from then on.
As a teenager he set or tied national high school records in the 100- and 220-yard dashes and the long jump (called the broad jump then). At Ohio State, he was not a good student but he was easily the swiftest on the track.