Was Jesse Owens snubbed by Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics? The next day—August 3, 1936—Owens won his first gold medal in the 100-meter dash. Hitler did not meet or shake hands with Owens. That said, there are several reports of a salute or wave. According to sports reporter and author Paul Gallico, writing from Berlin, Owens was “led below the honor box, where he smiled and bowed, and Herr Hitler gave him a friendly little Nazi salute, the sitting down one with the arm bent.” Owens himself later confirmed this, claiming that they exchanged congratulatory waves. So, Owens was not personally snubbed by Hitler. However, Owens did feel that he had been snubbed by someone: U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt. A month after the Olympic Games, Owens told a crowd, “Hitler didn’t snub me—it was [Roosevelt] who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” Roosevelt never publicly acknowledged Owens’s triumphs—or the triumphs of any of the 18 African Americans who competed at the Berlin Olympics. Only white Olympians were invited to the White House in 1936. A number of explanations have been offered for the president’s actions. Most likely, Roosevelt did not want to risk losing the support of Southern Democrats by appearing overly soft on the race issue. The black Olympians who competed in Berlin were not recognized by the White House until 2016, when Pres. Barack Obama invited the athletes’ relatives to an event in celebration of their lives and accomplishments.