The 1936 Olympic games in Berlin actually turned out to be Jesse Owens' Olympics, thank you, but the Führer oversaw the opening ceremonies, held 75 years ago today.
And Colorado's ranch-born Glenn "The Simla Sensation" Morris won the decathlon that year and turned down $500,000 from the Nazis to appear in Aryan sports films.
Morris was born on his family's horse ranch near Simla, Colorado, the second of seven children. A natural athlete whose record in the 220 hurdles stood for forty years at his high school, Morris entered Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) in 1930. He became a star athlete for the school, excelling in several sports and being named All American in track and field. Working as an assistant coach and automobile salesman after graduation in 1934 (with degrees in Economics and Sociology), Morris began training as a decathlon athlete in hopes of competing in the 1936 Olympics.
In the U.S. Olympic track and field trials for 1936, Morris scored a new world record of 7,880 points, earning him Newsweek's sobriquet "the nation's new Iron Man." Morris broke his own world record, and the Olympic record, in the Berlin games, with a decathlon score of 7,900 points. It was said that Adolf Hitler never left his seat while Morris was competing, and that the Germans thereafter offered Morris $50,000 to stay in Germany and appear in sports films, an offer Morris refused.
Two years later in 1938, Morris portrayed Tarzan in Tarzan's Revenge.
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Moris died in 1974 of congestive heart failure at age 62. In 2010, the Denver Post wrote this profile of Morris:
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Morris, who sold used cars in Denver as the Olympics approached, came home to a downtown parade that drew more than 10,000, and he rode in an open vehicle with Gov. Edwin Johnson and Mayor Ben Stapleton. Celebrations also were held in Fort Collins and in his tiny Colorado hometown.
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