Eighty-five years ago today there took place one of the great feats in athletics, and sporting, history as Jesse Owens broke five world records and equalled a sixth in the space of 45 minutes.
This extraordinary performance occurred when the then 21-year-old Owens, who would win four gold medals at the following year's Berlin 1936 Olympics, was competing for Ohio State University at the Big Ten meet which took place at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Fitting in the 100-yard dash, the long jump, the 220-yard dash and the 220-yard low hurdles meant trimming his jumping to a single attempt.
And as he told the esteemed French journalist and historian Robert Parienté there was more than that to worry about.
In his mammoth work, La Fabuleuse Histoire de l'Athletisme, Parienté – who died in 2006 – recalls how Owens had thought until the last moment that he would not be able to take part because of pain in his lower back, which he had injured five days earlier in falling downstairs while fooling about with college friends.
Having conferred with the Ohio State track coach Larry Snyder, Owens decided to proceed, but with caution, taking this on a "one event at a time" basis.
The pain was so acute that he had to take a hot bath before competing and required his team-mates to help him get kitted out beforehand.
But at 3.15pm as the starting gun cracked for his opening event, the 100 yards, "as if by a miracle", Owens became unaware of his back and concentrated on relaxing into his running. He equalled the world record of 9.4 seconds.
Owens could not afford to lose concentration, as he had only 10 minutes to prepare for his single long jump, which elicited exclamations of excitement from his competitors.
"That immediately told me that I had just done something important," Owens told Parienté. He had become the first man to break eight metres, setting a world record of 8.13 metres that would stand for 25 years.
This inordinately talented sharecropper's son then had fully 15 minutes to kick back and prepare for the 220 yards flat race, which was swiftly followed by the 220 yards low hurdles. He won both in world record times of 20.3sec – beating the old mark of 20.6 - and 22.6sec respectively – becoming the first to run under 23 seconds for the latter event.
He was also credited with setting new world marks for the 200m and 200m hurdles en-route.
"Under the acclamation of 10,000 spectators who could not believe their eyes, he put his tracksuit back on," Parienté writes. "Straight away the pain returned."
As Richard Rothschild noted in a 2010 Sports Illustrated article entitled "Greatest 45 minutes ever in sports", Owens might have had six outright world records from his afternoon outing.
"His official winning time of 9.4 seconds tied the world record, yet more than half of the race's official timers clocked him in 9.3, a new world mark," Rothschild said.
"Rules of the day, however, stipulated that a runner be given his slowest time. The first official 9.3 100 would have to wait for 1948."
On December 2, 2018 I was among those assembled at the Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel in Monaco for the Heritage Legends' Night organised by the world governing body of athletics – then still the International Association of Athletics Federations.
In the course of the evening representatives and family members of deceased athletics legends including Owens - who died in 1980 aged 66 - Paavo Nurmi, Fanny Blankers-Koen and Emil Zatopek presented mementos and artifacts to the federation's Heritage Collection.
Owens' grandson Stuart Rankin and his wife Sara were among the guests, having travelled from Seattle. They made a long-term loan of what is now one of the collection's most treasured items – the singlet bearing the word "Ohio" in which their illustrious relative had competed on that early summer afternoon in Ann Arbor.
"I absolutely love that singlet," Rankin told the gathering. "First off, red is my favourite colour and I love the strength and boldness that is still preserved in the shade of red of the singlet. Secondly, I love the stitched-on lettering. I love how classic and historic the singlet is.
"I love that such a simple item can simultaneously have such historic and personal significance. And that is one of the reasons why I like to occasionally wear the singlet...no-one would know, at a mere glance, just how significant the singlet is.
"I would wear it from time to time to feel a connection with my grandfather."
Speaking to World Athletics ahead of today's anniversary, Rankin revealed – somewhat surprisingly – that he had not been aware of his grandfather Ann Arbor's achievement until relatively recently.
"His 1935 accomplishments in Ann Arbor weren't something that I really became aware of until later in life," he said.
"I remember going to the University of Michigan for a ceremony honouring my grandfather, a few years after his death. I think that was when I first became conscious of those historic 45 minutes.
"My grandfather and grandmother were the respected and revered heads of the family. It wasn't lost on us that not everyone's grandfather was referenced in movies (Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles) or TV (The Carol Burnett Show), but we didn't feel the need to discuss his athletic accomplishments overtly."
That by no means meant, however, that his athletic achievements were not honoured.
"I can't tell you how many times I've seen my grandad win the 100m dash!" Rankin said.
"Both of my parents taught me about the 1936 Olympics when I was very, very young. It was important to them that I be aware of why grandad was 'famous' and why he was invited to so many places around the world to publicly speak and help the youth in other countries discover sports.
"He was definitely just grandad, but all of his grandchildren – and I am the youngest – knew that at one point in time, he was 'the fastest man in the world'. I felt very proud of that fact."