Consequences of a protest that marked Olympic history: More than 50 years after fistfights on an Olympic podium spark tensions.
At the 1968 Mexico Games, Tommy Smith won and broke the 200 meters world record in athletics. In third place came American teammate John Carlos. Awards ceremony headlines will be used to highlight an open wound in society.
“That was the way we promoted our equality platform. We just wanted to show the need to work together to erase treatment differences that exist based on skin color,” says Smith, who is now 77.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos wear the same emblem with the words “Olympic Human Rights Project” on their uniforms. It was a movement created by Harry Edwards, a former athlete and sociologist at San Jose State University in California, to discuss what was happening in society in the sports environment. In the late 1960s, racial discrimination was a central theme in the United States. The group initially wanted to boycott the Mexico Games, but the idea has changed.
On the podium, Smith wore a scarf symbolizing racial pride. Carlos appeared with a beaded necklace, which was used in religions with African nuances, to commemorate the lynchings of blacks in the United States. The closed fist remembered the gesture of the Black Panthers, a group that fought racial discrimination and defended armed resistance against oppression..
Tommy and John live outside of Atlanta, Georgia. they are Very different people, but who had a common ideal and found a window to share their thoughts with the world, through play. Today, more than half a century after that gesture, a generation of athletes stands ready to continue this legacy.