The Founders Of PUMA And Adidas Were Brothers Before Becoming Enemies

11The 1936 Berlin Olympics

This was the key springboard for international exposure for the shoes. Thanks to Josef there was a guarantee that most German athletes would be wearing Dassler footwear but Adolf had something else in mind, Jesse Owens. He was caught up with who Jesse Owens was and why he was the best and most important person to wear the Dassler footwear.

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12Why Jesse Owens?

When Berlin hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics the tensions were high. Prior to the games, Adolf Hitler had announced that Jewish and black people shouldn’t be allowed to participate but Jesse Owens, an African-American track-and-field star was the greatest threat to the German domination of the games. He ended up winning four gold medals for long jump and sprint. This is why they wanted him to be wearing Dassler footwear.

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13A bad remark

Regardless of the growing success of the shoes, there was a rift growing between the brothers. It was during the 1943 Allied bomb attack where things got worse. Both the brothers and their families got into the bomb shelter. Inside Adolf had remarked “Here are the bloody bastards again,” which was for the Allied war planes but Rudolf believed it to be towards him and his family.

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14Splitting of the company

Rudolf was captured by the American soldiers and was accused of being an associate of the Waffen SS. He was convinced that it was his own brother Adolf that turned him in. Later on, due to the difference in the views of both brothers led them to split in 1948. Rudolf moved away and started PUMA while Adolf stated Adidas.

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15The town of bent necks

The rivalry spread to the entire town of Herzogenaurach. The town was divided and later known as “the town of bent necks”. This name was given to them as the people of the town always looked down at the strangers entering to see which company shoes they were wearing. Post World War II, several players from the West German national football team wore PUMA boots.

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