'Race' film about Olympian Jesse Owens debuts in Chicago

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"Race" opens in theaters on Feb. 19. (WLS)

A movie about four-time Olympic gold winner Jesse Owens was debuted in Chicago Tuesday evening.

"Race" tells the story of Owens, a trailblazer on the track and in confronting racial barriers, even in Nazi Germany. His life and legacy are being celebrated during Black History Month.

The debut was held at the ShowPlace ICON theaters in the South Loop neighborhood.

The film, which is the first big-screen adaptation of his life, opens in theaters on Feb. 19.

Owen is a former Chicago resident and is also buried in the city. Owens' granddaughter also is a former ABC7 employee

Stephan James, who played John Lewis in the movie "Selma," trained for two months with the track and field coaches at Georgia Tech University.

"I knew right away that if I was going to be the fastest man on the planet I had my work cut out for me," James said Tuesday at the debut.

He said he not only had to learn how to run fast, but also how to run like Owens.

The Owens family supported the film and helped James better understand the athlete.

James notes that many people don't realize that Owens was a great humanitarian.

"So many people know about the fastest man alive, super human athlete, but very little do they know about the person that he was and I had the fortune to learn that from his daughters," James said.

Related Topics:
sportsmovie premiereOlympicsathletesrunningblack history monthChicago - West Loop
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