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杰西·欧文斯致一位年轻人的公开信  

2007-06-28 13:39:55|  分类: 英文写作及转贴文 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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这篇文章——“欧文斯致一位年轻人的公开信”是《星期日广播英语》1992年8月16日的广播稿,我觉得很有意义,特地把它全文转载在此,同上一篇-“家庭沟通的秘决”一样,译文随后登出,以便让喜欢看英文原文的网友先睹为快。为了使大家更好地理解这篇文章,在此我简单介绍一下有关欧文斯的背景知识。

杰西·欧文斯(JESSE OWENS)是美国黑人田径明星,现代奥运史上最伟大的运动员。

1936年在柏林举行的第11届奥运会上,欧文斯获100米跑(10秒3)、200米跑(20秒7,奥运会记录)、跳远(8.06米)、4x100米接力跑(39秒8,创世界记录)4枚金牌,并在这四个项目的预、次、复、决赛中,平、破奥运会记录12次。在这届奥运会上,欧文斯不仅创造了震惊世界体坛的奇迹,更可贵的是他以惊人的成绩有力地反击了希特勒的种族歧视,使全世界爱好和平的人民深受鼓舞。

为了纪念这位现代体育史上不朽的运动家,1980年美国设立了“杰西·欧文斯奖”,用以表彰、嘉奖为当代体育事业做出杰出贡献的优秀运动员。

 在第二十六届奥运会女子5000米跑决赛中,被誉为“东方神鹿”的王军霞以14分59秒88的成绩获得冠军。1994年1月11日,王军霞获第十四届杰西·欧文斯奖,成为中国和亚洲第一个获此殊荣的运动员。

                      An open letter to a Young Person

Even though in 1936 you had not yet been born, maybe you’ve heard the story—the story of the 1936 Olympics and how I managed to come out with four gold medals. A lot has been written about those medals and about the one for the broad jump in particular. It was during that event that Adolf Hiller, then dictator of Germany, walked out on me.

A lot of words have been written about that day and the days that followed. And they have been almost true. I say “almost true” because you know only part of the truth. I want to tell you about something else now.

The broad jump preliminaries came before the finals of the other three events I was in—the one hundred- and two hundred-meter dash and the relay. How I did in the broad jump would determine how I did in the whole Olympics. For I held a world record in the broad jump that only one man had ever come near. That man was Luz Long. Hitler expected Luz Long to win the gold medal. Long was a tall, sandy-haired, perfectly built fellow. In preparing for the Game, he had been known to jump over twenty-six feet. No one knew for sure what he could really do because Hitler kept it a secret. After he took his first jump, I knew this man was something!

I felt I had to make a showing right then. I measured off my steps from the foul board and got ready. Suddenly an American news reporter came up to me. “Is it true, Jesse?’ he asked.

“Is what true?” I answered.

“That Hitler walked out on you. That he wouldn’t watch you jump?”

I looked over to where the German ruler had been sitting. No one was in his box. A minute ago he had been there. I could add two and two. Besides, he’d already snubbed me once by refusing the Olympics Committee’s request to have me sit in that box.

This was too much. I was mad, hate-mad, and it made me feel wild. I was going to show him. He’d hear about this jump, even if he wouldn’t see it!

I felt the energy coming into my legs and tingling in the muscles of my stomach as it never had before. I began my run, almost in slow motion, then picked up speed. Finally, ran faster and faster until I was moving almost as fast as I did whenever I ran the hundred-yard dash. Suddenly the foul board was in front of me. I hit it, went up, up high—so high I knew I was outdoing Long and every person who had ever jumped.

 But they didn’t measure it, I heard the referee shout, “Foul!” even before I came down, I had run too fast. I’d gone half a foot over the foul board.

 On my second jump, I played it safe—too safe. I didn’t foul. But I didn’t go far enough to qualify. I had one jump left. It wasn’t enough. I looked around nervously, panic creeping into every cell of my body.

 Suddenly I felt a firm hand on my arm. I turned and looked into the sky-blue eyes of my worst enemy.

 “Hello, Jesse Owens,” he said. “I am luz Long.” I nodded. I couldn’t speak.

 “Look,” he said. “There is no time to waste with manners. What has taken your goat?”

 I had to smile a little in spite of myself as I heard his mixed-up American phrase.

 “Aw, nothing,” I said. “You know how it is.”

 He was silent for a few seconds. “Yes,” he said finally, “I know how it is. But I also know you are a better jumper than this. Now, what has taken your goat?”

 I laughed out loud this time. But I couldn’t tell him, him of all people. I glanced over at the broad-jump pit. I was about to called.

 Luz didn’t waste words, even if he wasn’t sure which ones to use. “Is it what Hitler did?” he asked.

 I was thunderstruck that he’d said it. “I—” I started to answer. But I didn’t know what to say.

 “I see,” he said. “Look, we talk about that later. Now you must jump. And you must qualify.”

 “But how?” I shot back.

 “I have thoughts,” he said. “You are like I am. You must do it one hundred percent. Correct?” I nodded. “Yet, you must be sure not to foul.” I nodded again, this time a little discouraged. And as I did, I heard the loudspeaker call my name.

 Luz talked quickly. “Then you do both things, Jesse. You remeasure your steps. You take off six inches behind the foul board. You jump as hard as you can. But you need not fear to foul.”

 All at once, the panic emptied out of me like a cloudburst. Of course!

 I jogged over to the run way. I measured my steps again. Then I put a towel beside the place I wanted to jump from. That place was half a foot behind the foul board.

 I walked back to the starting line. I began my run, hit the place beside the towel, shot up into the air like a bird, and qualified by more than a foot.

The next day I went into the finals of the broad jump. Here was to be the hardest competition of my life—here with my enemy, Luz Long. Luz broke his own personal record and the Olympic record, too. Then I—thanks to the talk we had had—flew into the air to top that.

 During the evenings that followed, I sat with Luz in his place or mine in the Olympic village, and we formed a strong friendship. We were sometimes as different on the inside as we looked on the outside. But the things that were the same were much ore important to us.

 Luz had a wife and a young child, as I did. We talked about everything from athletics to art, but mostly we talked about the future. He didn’t say it in so many words, but he seemed to know that war was coming and that he would have to be in it.

 Luz and I promised to each other after the Games, and we did. For three years, we wrote regularly, though the letters weren’t always as happy as our talks at the Olympics had been. Times were had for me and harder for Luz. He had had to go into the German army, away from his wife and son. His letters began to bear strange postmarks. Each letter expressed more and more doubt about what he was doing. But he felt he had no other choice. He was afraid for his family if he left the army. And how could they leave Germany?”

 The last letter I got from his was in 1939. “Things become more difficult,” he said, “and I am afraid, Jesse. It is not just the thought of dying. it is that I may die for the wrong thing. But whatever might become of me, I hope only that my wife and son will stay alive. I am asking you, my only friend outside of Germany, to someday visit them if you are able. Tell them why I has to do this and how the good times between us were.”

 I answered right away, but my letter came back. So did the next and the one after. Finally, when the war was over, I was able to get in touch with Luz’s wife. I found out what had happened to him. He was buried somewhere in the African desert.

 I went back to Berlin a few years ago and met his son. And I told Karl about his father. I told him that though fate may have thrown us against one another, Luz rose above it. Luz rose so high above it that I was left not only with four gold medals that his advice helped me to get, but with priceless knowledge that the only bond worth anything between human beings is their humanness.

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