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Sprinter Jesse Owens' Olympic gold medal up for auction

Sprinter Jesse Owens' gold medal, which he won during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, is seen in this undated file photo.

November 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An Olympic gold medal won by sprinter Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, is up for auction in Laguna Niguel.

"We certainly feel that this has potential to go upwards of $1 million," said Dan Imler, vice president of SCP Auctions.

Decades before Usain Bolt was the world's fastest man, and before track and field legend Carl Lewis, there was Jesse Owens.

Just 23 years old at the time, Owens qualified for the games as Nazi leader Adolph Hitler was growing stronger.

"The Nazi games, as they were called, were intended by Hitler to be an exhibition of his notion of Aryan supremacy," said Imler.

Owens proved that notion wrong, crushing the competition and bringing home four gold medals. Almost 80 years later, the medal is the only documented original left.

The story goes, back in the 1930s Owens gave it to his good friend Bill "Mr. Bojangles" Robinson. His daughter contacted SCP Auctions. Now the medal's up for bid until Dec. 7.

"It's an extremely significant event in our field. This medal is one of the most iconic, valuable and important sports artifacts that's really ever been sold publicly," said Imler.

No matter the cost, Owens' accomplishments will remain priceless.