German long jumper Luz Long's silver medal from the 1936 Berlin Olympics has been put up for auction. It is more historically significant than the typical Olympic medal, as Long celebrated the achievement with gold medalist Jesse Owens while Adolf Hitler watched from the stands.
Long famously befriended his American competitor Owens during the Games. One of their most memorable interactions came when Owens failed two jumps in the trials and was down to his last qualifying attempt, prompting Long to give him some advice.
"Why don't you draw a line a few inches in back of the board and aim at making your take-off from there," Luz famously advised. "You'll be sure not to foul, and you certainly ought to jump far enough to qualify. What does it matter if you're not first in the trials?"
When Owens told the story later on, he said the advice helped him relax. He drew the line a foot back and went on to qualify with almost a foot to spare. Owens made history at Berlin, becoming the first U.S. track and field athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. He medaled in the long jump, the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and the 4x100-meter relay.
SCP Auctions started the bidding at $50,000, and it estimated the medal's value to be between $500,000 and $1 million. The auction is set to run through Oct. 15. Other items from Long's career are also being auctioned in a collection named "Beacon of hope." Long was killed in World War II in 1943, but the inspiration his courage provided still lives on.
"The story of Jesse Owens never seems to end," Long's granddaughter, Julia Kellner-Long, told the Associated Press. "My grandfather has always been inspirational and influential in the way I choose to see the world, and this is something I think the world outside needs. Now more than ever. It gives us hope."
A total of 320 silver medals were made for athletes at the 1936 Berlin Games, per SCP Auctions, but this one represents more than just a piece of metal.
"Symbolizing the essence of sportsmanship in every sense of the word, it stands as one of the most important, if not the most inspiring, Olympic artifacts ever offered," the auction house wrote.