An Ohio State University sprinter made history beating iconic Olympian Jesse Owens' 83-year-old school record. 

Nick Gray is a fourth-year biology major and a history-making athlete. In April, the Pickerington, Ohio, student broke Owens' record during the Gamecock Invitational at the University of South Carolina. Before accomplishing the feat, Gray wrote school reports on Owens.

The historic runner was a four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. A Black man beating the majority-white competition and rebuking the Aryan race ideology was a legendary act at that crucial time in history. 

"In the track world, it’s impossible not to know Jesse Owens,” Gray told Ohio State News. “He’s everywhere. He’s on the wall in the gym and our track is [Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium]. I mean it’s impossible not to know your history about him.”

On the day of the race, the student-athlete recalled fighting from last place to pull off a top place finish. He had no intentions of making history or beating times; he only wanted to win. 

“The gun went off and I was almost in last place," Gray told Clevland 19 News. “I had to fight all the way back. [The race] felt fast. But not that fast.”

Gray came in at 10.17 seconds in the 100-meter run. But his time was more than impeccable; it beat Owens' Ohio State record of 10.2 seconds set in 1936. 

“I didn’t think it would be me that would break it, to be honest. I wanted to, but seeing all the greats that have come before me, I was like ‘I’m not going to get it,’” Gray said.

Even though he broke the longstanding time, he came in second overall, taking home a silver medal. Gray also broke another record first set 26 years ago in the 200-meter dash.

Throughout his career as a Buckeye, he has won 37 races. Gray is also an eight-time Big Ten champion and five-time track and field First Team All-American. After completing his undergraduate studies, the runner will pursue a career in dentistry.

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