Jesse Owens was born on this day in 1913, what you need to know about the OSU legend

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Before Jesse Owens emerged as a track and field legend, he made his mark on Ohio State athletics.

The former Ohio State track athlete dominated the Big Ten Conference before winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games, winning eight individual NCAA titles and becoming known as the "Buckeye Bullet."

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Here's what you need to know about Owens, who was born 109 years ago Monday.

Jesse Owens picked Ohio State over Michigan, enrolled in classes in 1933

Owens already had a track record for success in track and field when he first enrolled at Ohio State.

Owens finished in first in 75 of the 79 competitions he entered in 1933, breaking the long-jump record at the state interscholastic finals representing East Technical School in Cleveland, along with winning the long jump, setting a world record in the 220-yard and 100-yard dashes in the National Championship held in Chicago.

When it came down to pick a college, Owens was down to Ohio State and Michigan, but picked the Buckeyes because of the school's proposal that he could work part-time as a freight elevator operator in the state house while training and going to classes.

Jesse Owens set three world records in less than one hour at Big Ten Finals

With Ohio State, Owens was able to show Michigan what it missed out on.

Prior to his record-breaking performance at the 1936 Olympic Games, Owens tied a world record in the 100-yard dash at 9.4 before breaking world records in the long jump at 26-8, the 220-yard dash in 20.3 seconds and the 220-yard low hurdles in 22.6 seconds at the Big Ten Championships May 25, 1935 in Ann Arbor.

1936 proved to be the year for Jesse Owens

While Owens is well known for what he did in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, she continued to shine representing Ohio State.

Owens was undefeated in 42 events for the Buckeyes, winning four titles at the Western Conference Championships, four at the NCAA Championships and two at the N.A.A.U. Championships.

As an Ohio State University student in 1936, Jesse Owens gained international fame by winning four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin, Germany, smashing Adolf Hitler's notion of Aryan supremacy and becoming an American hero.

After three titles at the Olympic Trials, Owens won gold medals in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and broad jump along with helping the United States win gold in the 4x100-meter relay.

Jesse Owens is one of two Ohio State athletes to earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Owens was only one of a handful of athletes or coaches to be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom: the highest civilian honor in the United States.

Owens, who received his from President Gerald Ford in 1979, joins a list of athletes including New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio, Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson and Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan.

After Owens received the honor in 1979, golfer Jack Nicklaus received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is given by the President of the United States to individuals who have made "exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors."