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Local man recalls his encounter with legend

August 3, 2012
EDGAR?KELLEY IN?THE?BOX ( , The Inter-Mountain

It seems that everyone is more in tune with the Olympics this year than ever before.

You can't go anywhere without someone talking about the Summer Games, and NBC announced on Tuesday that the network averaged 35.6 million viewers through the first five nights.

And according to the network, more women and children are tuning in to watch what has seemed to grabbed the nation's attention.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Elkins resident Arab Miller, left, shakes hands with track legend Jesse Owens during the early 1970s in Columbus, Ohio.

For Elkins resident Arab Miller, the Olympics mean much more, especially when it comes to track and field.

The Olympics not only allow him to reminiscence about the days when he raced around the track, but also bring back memories of one of the greatest track athletes of all time - Jesse Owens.

Miller and his brother, Paul, both lettered in track at Elkins High School and at Muskingun College, where their father, Fred, also was a competitor in the sport.

So it's safe to say that track and field is in the family's blood. And it's easy to understand why to this day, Arab still gets excited when talking about his encounter with Owens.

"I was teaching at Eastmoor Junior High in Columbus, Ohio, when I got to meet Jesse Owens," Miller explained. "Someone had called the school in the middle of the day and asked if we could put an assembly together because he wanted to come in and talk to the students. Of course we found a way to make it work."

After hearing the news, Miller scrambled to find a colleague of his at the school, who he knew had a camera.

"I looked up a friend of mine at the school and told him to get his camera," he said. "I told him I had a chance to get my photo taken with Jesse Owens and didn't want to miss out on the opportunity."

When Owens arrived at the school, Miller was able to chat with the legend and pose for several photos, one of which he cherishes to this day.

"He was a true gentleman," Miller said of Owens. "He was very sincere and humble. I'll never forget meeting him, it was a great moment for me."

For those who don't know, Owens burst onto the international scene during the 1936 Summer Olympics when he captured four gold medals by winning the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and as part of the 4x100 relay team.

Meeting Owens is something Miller has cherished his entire life. Hopefully everyone has the opportunity sometime in their life to meet someone they admire like Miller did.



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