Marlene Owen Rankin’s memories of her dad, the legendary athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Hitler’s Germany, include much more than his accomplishments as a world-class runner.
Joined by her sister, Beverly Owens Prather, Rankin sat down for a recent interview to share her thoughts about “Race,” a new movie (opening Friday) about Owens, but also to reflect on what it was like to grow up in the Owens household.
“First of all, Daddy never met a stranger,” said Rankin, Owen’s middle daughter. ”Everybody was ‘champ’ to him. He made everyone feel like they were a champion when they were with him. That was just his way.”
Of course, to achieve the heights that Owens did reach in athletics, he clearly possessed amazing determination. “Daddy was really naturally resilient, and it’s difficult to say where, exactly, that came from,” Prather said. “But I think a lot of his inner strength came from his family. He had strong family ties.”
Owens’ three daughters, including oldest child Gloria Owens Hemphill, grew up in Chicago and continue to live here. All are…