"Emerging Explorers" from Voice of America - *I’m Steve Ember. And I’m Shirley Griffith with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Every year, the National Geographic Society honors scientists, wild...
Sunday, August 28, 2011
GWEN OUTEN: This is Gwen Outen.
STEVE EMBER: And this is Steve Ember with People in America in VOA Special English. Every week we tell about a person who was important in the history of the United States. Today we tell the story of athlete Jesse Owens. He once was the fastest runner in the world.
GWEN OUTEN: In the summer of nineteen thirty-six, people all over the world heard the name of Jesse Owens. That summer, Owens joined the best athletes from fifty nations to compete in the Olympic games. They met in Berlin, Germany. There was special interest in the Olympic games that year.
Gottfried von Cramm,
German tennis star
In the summer of nineteen thirty-six, Hitler wanted to prove his beliefs to the world. He wanted to show that German athletes could win every important competition. After all, only a few weeks before the Olympics, German boxer Max Schmeling had defeated the great American heavyweight Joe Louis, a black man.
STEVE EMBER: Jesse Owens was black, too. Until nineteen thirty-six, very few black athletes had competed in the Olympics for the United States. Owens was proud to be on the team. He was very sure of his ability.
JESSE OWENS: “I think that this week is very sufficient for the boys on the United States Olympic team for the simple reason because we have been through a series of preliminary events in our country. And the training here that we are getting here is just a little tune-up for the Olympic games. Our hard training is really over. And the rain here is something that is going to help our team quite a bit because some of the boys has a tendency to work a little bit too hard. And I think that the rain is doing a good to slack up the training a bit.”
(1936 interview with Jesse Owens for German radio, from archive.org)
Owens said later: "I was looking only at the finish line. I thought of all the years of practice and competition, and of all who believed in me."
GWEN OUTEN: We do not know what Hitler thought of Jesse Owens. No one recorded what he said about this black man who ran faster and jumped farther than any man of any color at the Olympic games. But we can still see Jesse Owens as Hitler saw him. For at Hitler's request, motion pictures were made of the Berlin Olympic games.
The films show Jesse Owens as a thin, but powerfully-built young man with smooth brown skin and short hair. When he ran, he seemed to move without effort. When he jumped, as one observer said, he seemed to jump clear out of Germany.
STEVE EMBER: Owens' Olympic victories made him a hero. He returned home to parades in New York City and Columbus, Ohio, where he attended the state university. Businessmen paid him for the right to use his name on their stores. No one, however, offered him a permanent job.
For many years after the nineteen thirty-six Olympic games, Jesse Owens survived as best he could. He worked at small jobs. He even used his athletic abilities, but in a sad way. He earned money by running races against people, motorcycles and horses. He and his wife and three daughters saw both good times and bad times.
Some of Jesse’s brothers and sisters died while still young. Jesse was a sickly child. Partly because of this, and partly because of the racial hatred they saw around them, Jesse’s parents decided to leave the South. They moved north, to Cleveland, Ohio, when Jesse was eight years old. The large family lived in a few small rooms in a part of the city that was neither friendly nor pleasant to look at.
STEVE EMBER: Jesse, especially, was lucky. He entered a school where one white teacher, Charles Riley, took a special interest in him. Jesse looked thin and unhealthy, and Riley wanted to make him stronger. Through the years that Jesse was in school, Riley brought him food in the morning. Riley often invited the boy to eat with his family in the evening. And every day before school, he taught Owens how to run like an athlete.
GWEN OUTEN: Owens always remembered the white man who helped change his life. Charles Riley did not seem to care what color a person's skin was. Owens learned to think the same way.
Later in life, Owens put all his energy into working with young people. He wanted to tell them some of the things he had learned about life, work and success: That it is important to choose a goal and always work toward it. That there are good people in the world who will help you to reach your goal. That if you try again and again, you will succeed.
People who heard Owens's speeches said he spoke almost as well as he ran. Owens received awards for his work with boys and girls. The United States government sent him around the world as a kind of sports ambassador. The International Olympic Committee asked for his advice.
STEVE EMBER: In about nineteen seventy, Jesse Owens wrote a book in which he told about his life. It was called “Blackthink.” In the book, Owens denounced young black militants who blamed society for their troubles. He said young black people had the same chance to succeed in the United States as white people. Many black civil rights activists reacted angrily to these statements. They said what Owens had written was not true for everyone.
Owens later admitted that he had been wrong. He saw that not all blacks were given the same chances and help that he had been given. In a second book, Owens tried to explain what he had meant in his first book. He called it “I Have Changed.” Owens said that, in his earlier book, he did not write about life as it was for everyone, but about life as it was for him.
He said he truly wanted to believe that if you think you can succeed--- and you really try -- then you have a chance. If you do not think you have a chance, then you probably will fail. He said these beliefs had worked for him. And he wanted all young people to believe them, too.
GWEN OUTEN: These were the same beliefs he tried to express when he spoke around the world about being an Olympic athlete. "The road to the Olympics," he said, "leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads -- in the end -- to the best within us.”
STEVE EMBER: This program was written by Barbara Dash. It was produced by Lawan Davis. This is Steve Ember.
GWEN OUTEN: And this is Gwen Outen. Listen again next week for People in America in VOA Special English.
1. Before the Olympics, Jesse Owens mostly thought about ________________ .
2. The 1936 Olympic Games were held in _________________ .
3. The German boxer Max Schmeling defeated black champion boxer Joe Louis in __________ .
4. In his book "Blackthink", Jesse Owens said that ________________ .
5. Jesse Owens won four Gold Medals at the 1936 Olympics. Adolph Hitler _________ .
6. Jesse Owens didn't win a Gold Medal at the 1936 Olympics for the ________________ .
7. After his victories in the Olympics of 1936, businesses _______________ .
8. Charley Riley helped Jesse Owens to become an athlete. But first, it was necessary to _______________ .
9. Another name for this article could be, " ___________ ."
10. This article is mainly about _____________ .
The following is a video of Jesse Owens winning the 100 meter run.
Check out the Jesse Owens Website for more information about this amazing athlete.
Posted by John Robinson at 6:40 PM
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sam is aiming his harpoon gun at a killer whale.
A place you will read about: Vancouver, a city near the Pacific Ocean. Things you will read about: harpoon gun: a gun that shoots spears. Statue: a piece of art that is made to look like a person or animal and that is usually made of stone, wood, clay, or metal.
The whale was swimming quietly on its line and would be easy to hit. Sam picked up his gun again, aimed, then stopped. An idea struck him! No killer whale had ever been caught and kept alive for doctors to study. This could be the first one. Sam had to work fast if he were to save the whale's life. He sent a radio call to Vancouver. He wanted doctors waiting at the dock with a salt water tank for the whale.
News about Sam and Moby Maybe spread through the city quickly, and thousands of people were waiting at the dock to greet them. Doctors carefully took out the knife and gave the whale something to help its wound get better. Sam spent many days sitting on a float in Moby Maybe's tank, keeping the whale company while it got better. A killer whale could easily break up a float with its tail if it wanted to, but Moby didn't. The whale seemed to know that Sam was its friend.
One thing did worry Sam. Moby wasn't eating. No matter what kind of meat or fish Sam offered, Moby refused everything. This went on for eight weeks. Then, one day, the whale started flapping its tail as if to get Sam's attention. Sam threw Moby a fish, and the whale ate it. Then Sam threw two more, and Moby ate them, too. Crowds around Moby's tank cheered. Stories about Moby' s first meal appeared on the front page of every Vancouver newspaper. Moby had become the city's pet, and news that the whale had eaten, made the whole city happy.
The whale came up on the other side of the tank flapping its tail in anger. When Sam lowered the fish closer to the water, Moby came back and took it. Next, Sam splashed the water with a rockfish. Moby took one look at the sharp fins on the fish's body and swam away. The whale showed its anger again by flapping its tail. But when Sam had cut off the sharp fins, Moby returned and ate the fish. Sam was discovering just how smart Moby was. The whale had a mind of its own! Moby was training Sam, instead of Sam training Moby.
The doctors were eager to test Moby's hearing, for they knew that whales have a very sharp sense of hearing. They played recordings of calls of other killer whales for Moby. When the whale heard them, it answered them with excited squeaks. But when doctors played a recording of Moby's own voice, the whale paid no attention to it at all.
After a few months, Moby's shiny black skin started turning gray. The doctors began to worry. They found that the trouble was with the water in the tank. It wasn't as salty as the ocean water. Plans were made to move Moby's tank to another dock where the water was better. But before the tank could be moved, Moby took one last dive. The mighty killer whale never came up again. Divers went into the tank and discovered the whale dead at the bottom. They also discovered that Moby Maybe was really Moby Doll!
Sam finally made his statue for the city of Vancouver. But to him, it was not just a statue of a killer whale. It was a way to honor Moby Doll. For she had taught the world just how clever killer whales really are.
1. When Sam shot the whale, _______
2. Sam was out hunting a whale _________
3. Sam decided not to kill the whale because ___________
4. Sam named the whale Moby Maybe because ____________
5. Vancouver newspapers had stories of Moby on the front page because ________
6. After the whale started eating, ____________
7. Moby got angry when Sam ____________
8.When doctors played recordings of other whales' voices, ________
9. Another name for this story could be __________
10. This story is mainly about _____________
Moby Doll in Wikipedia. Here you will read that the official name for "Killer Whale" is "Orca".
Orca and Dog conversation from Youtube. Don't miss this. It's amazing.
Posted by John Robinson at 1:15 PM