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Olympic silver medal of German athlete who befriended Jesse Owens sells for $488,000

In this August 11, 1936, file photo, America's Jesse Owens, center, salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump, alongside silver medalist Luz Long, right, of Germany, and bronze medalist Naoto Tajima, of Japan, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. (AP Photo/File)
In this August 11, 1936, file photo, America's Jesse Owens, center, salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump, alongside silver medalist Luz Long, right, of Germany, and bronze medalist Naoto Tajima, of Japan, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. (AP Photo/File)

The silver medal captured by Luz Long, the German long jumper who befriended Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, sells at auction for more than $488,000, a sum the auction house says is a record price for a publicly sold second-place prize.

Long walked arm in arm through the stadium with Owens to celebrate their victories while Adolf Hitler watched from the stands. The family of the long jumper, who was killed in World War II, decided to auction the medal and other collectables. The auction house labeled the Luz collection as the “Beacon of Hope.”

Owens was Black, and his stirring success at those Olympics was said to have annoyed Hitler by puncturing the Nazi myth of Aryan racial superiority.

“It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me,” Owens said years later.

“You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace.”

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