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I think that one particular theme that is present in Schaap's work is how sports can be a unifying principle in the face of social division. Hitler's hosting of the 1936 Olympics was supposed to be the grand stage in which the Nazi ideology of racial superiority was to be on display for the world to see. At a critical moment in world history, Nazism was to be promoted for the entire world, almost a galvanizing statement on how the world should view racial difference. At this particular moment, Owens, the son of Black sharecroppers from the racially segregated South, emerged on this stage. Owens' success at the Olympics demonstrated the fundamental flaws in Hitler's Nazi ideology of racial supremacy. It also began to shine a provocative light on the racial segregation that was evident in America. Owens' athletic ability turned into a political statement. It was an instant where the theme that athletics can be a point of unity in a world of division. Jesse Owens' "triumph" was not only a victory in this battle, but proved how a level playing field can demonstrate the purest display of excellence, one that transcends race, class, and power. In this, the theme of how the purity of athletics can serve as an antidote to the poison that exists in social orders that practice exclusion and marginalization.
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