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1968 Olympic Games Ciudad de México, Mexico - Men's 200 m

 

 

Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico Format: Top four in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: October 15, 1968 Format: Top four in each heat advanced to the semi-finals
Date Finished: October 16, 1968 Format: Top four in each heat and next four fastest advanced to the quarter-finals.
(Competitors: 50; Countries: 37; Finalists: 8)  
    Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Overview by IAAF    1968_olympic_stadium.jpg
Carlos was favoured on the strength of his unratified world record of 19.7 (19.92) in the US Trials, but Smith had won all their previous championship meetings. Peter Norman, a good but unheralded Aussie, was fastest in the first round with an Olympic record 20.2 (20.23), a mark matched by Smith (20.29 on auto timing) in the next round. Norman again ran 20.2 (20.22) in his semi, but was eclipsed by Carlos who ran an astonishing 20.1 (20.12) from lane 1. Smith also won his semi-final in 20.1 (20.13), but limped off with cramp. The benefit of altitude meant that 20.49 was required just to make the final. Smith appeared with his leg heavily strapped, but ran the curve well, even if one and a half metres down on Carlos, who powered through the first half in 10.4. Smith switched gears at 120m, zooming past Carlos at 150m and leaving onlookers gaping in awe at his acceleration. He won by 2½m despite easing down in the last 15m and raising his arms in triumph. Meanwhile, Carlos also throttled back, but was overtaken in the last 5m by Norman, who destroyed his pre-Olympic best by 0.5 with 20.0 (20.06). A black power protest was made by Smith and Carlos at the medal ceremony, eclipsing the race in news terms as the two American stars were subsequently vilified for using the Olympic arena as a political forum.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
Coming into the year, Tommie Smith was considered the best 200 runner but John Carlos had won the Olympic Trials in an unratified world record of 19.7/19.92 – it was not accepted because his shoes had too many spikes. Smith had won the AAU in 1967-68, while Carlos was 1967 Pan American Champion. In the semi-final, Smith pulled an adductor muscle and ran the final with his thigh wrapped. Carlos came off the turn 1½ metres in the lead but Smith then accelerated, turning on what he called his “Tommie Jets” and powered past the field to win with almost a 2½ metre lead despite closing it down in the last 10 metres, still running a world record 19.83. Carlos slowed near the end after Smith passed him and the gold medal was gone, and was passed on the run-in by Australia's Peter Norman.
Smith and Carlos almost did not compete in the Olympics. African-Americans, they considered joining a black boycott of the Olympics that was being organized by San José State professor Harry Edwards. But they elected to make their own protest instead. On the victory podium, they mounted it barefoot, wearing civil rights badges, and as The Star-Spangled Banner played, they lowered their heads and raised a single, black-gloved fist. The IOC was irate at this political protest during the Olympics, and the US Olympic Committee expelled them from the team. Peter Norman joined them in the protest by also wearing the civil rights badge. Vilified by the American and international media, Smith and Carlos have since become heroes to the cause of American civil rights, and human rights in general. They also never forgot Norman, and when he died in 2006, they served as pallbearers at his funeral. In 2008 Smith and Carlos received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, presented by ESPN. Carlos has made some noise in recent years, claiming he let Tommie Smith win the gold medal in 1968, but those who saw the race have no doubt as to Smith's dominance.
 
 
        Results          

John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman 1968cr.jpg

The medal award ceremony for the 200 metres. Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) showing the Black Power salute while silver medalist Peter Norman (left) wears an OPHR badge to show his support for the two Americans. 

200 m Men     Final 16 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 19.83     Tommie Smith United States USA 24 WR 19.8 h
2 20.06     Peter Norman Australia AUS 26   20.0 h
3 20.10     John Carlos United States USA 23   20.0 h
4 20.34     Edwin Roberts Trinidad and Tobago TTO 27   20.3 h
5 20.51     Roger Bambuck France FRA 22   20.5 h
6 20.62     Larry Questad United States USA 25   20.6 h
7 20.63     Mike Fray Jamaica JAM 21   20.6 h
8 20.66     Jochen Eigenherr West Germany FRG 21   20.6 h
200 m Men     Semi-Finals Heat One 16 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.12   Q John Carlos United States USA 23 OR 20.1 h
2 20.22   Q Peter Norman Australia AUS 26   20.2 h
3 20.46   Q Mike Fray Jamaica JAM 21   20.4 h
4 20.47   Q Roger Bambuck France FRA 22   20.4 h
5 20.84     Iván Moreno Chile CHI 26   20.8 h
6 20.85     Dick Steane Great Britain GBR 29   20.8 h
7 20.89     Nikolay Ivanov Soviet Union URS 26   20.8 h
8 20.91     Fernando Acevedo Peru PER 22   20.8 h
200 m Men     Semi-Finals Heat Two 16 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.14   Q Tommie Smith United States USA 24 (=)OR 20.1 h
2 20.44   Q Edwin Roberts Trinidad and Tobago TTO 27   20.4 h
3 20.48   Q Larry Questad United States USA 25   20.4 h
4 20.49   Q Jochen Eigenherr West Germany FRG 21   20.4 h
5 20.53     Greg Lewis Australia AUS 21   20.5 h
6 20.80     Edward Romanowski Poland POL 24   20.7 h
7 20.88     Ralph Banthorpe Great Britain GBR 19   20.8 h
8 21.05     Mani Jegathesan Malaysia MAS 24   21.0 h
200 m Men     Quarter-Finals Heat One 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.69   Q John Carlos United States USA 23   20.6 h
2 20.81   Q Greg Lewis Australia AUS 21   20.8 h
3 20.81   Q Dick Steane Great Britain GBR 29   20.8 h
4 21.01   Q Mani Jegathesan Malaysia MAS 24   21.0 h
5 21.04     Julius Sang Kenya KEN 22   21.0 h
6 21.15     Jacques Carette France FRA 21   21.1 h
7 21.41     Edwin Johnson Bahamas BAH 18   21.4 h
8 21.43     Harry Jerome Canada CAN 28   21.4 h
200 m Men     Quarter-Finals Heat Two 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.44   Q Peter Norman Australia AUS 26   20.4 h
2 20.53   Q Jochen Eigenherr West Germany FRG 21   20.5 h
3 20.78   Q Fernando Acevedo Peru PER 22   20.7 h
4 20.83   Q Iván Moreno Chile CHI 26   20.8 h
5 20.84     Charles Asati Kenya KEN 22   20.8 h
6 21.01     Livio Berruti Italy ITA 29   21.0 h
7 21.51     Winston Short Trinidad and Tobago TTO 23   21.5 h
8 21.52     Rajalingam Gunaratnam Malaysia MAS 26   21.5 h
200 m Men     Quarter-Finals Heat Three 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.28   Q Tommie Smith United States USA 24 (=)OR 20.2 h
2 20.50   Q Edwin Roberts Trinidad and Tobago TTO 27   20.4 h
3 20.85   Q Edward Romanowski Poland POL 24   20.8 h
4 20.90   Q Nikolay Ivanov Soviet Union URS 26   20.8 h
5 20.99     David Ejoke Nigeria NGR 28   20.9 h
6 21.03     Andrés Calonge Argentina ARG 23   21.0 h
7 21.42     Hansruedi Wiedmer Switzerland SUI 23   21.4 h
8 21.57     Miguel Angel González Mexico MEX 24   21.5 h
200 m Men     Quarter-Finals Heat Four 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.39   Q Mike Fray Jamaica JAM 21   20.3 h
2 20.54   Q Larry Questad United States USA 25   20.5 h
3 20.63   Q Roger Bambuck France FRA 22   20.6 h
4 20.83   Q Ralph Banthorpe Great Britain GBR 19   20.8 h
5 20.90     James Addy Ghana GHA 28   20.9 h
6 20.96     Valentin Maslakov Soviet Union URS 23   20.9 h
7 21.05     Pedro Grajales Colombia COL 28   21.0 h
8 21.53     Bernard Nottage Bahamas BAH 24   21.5 h
200 m Men     Round One Heat One 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.54   Q John Carlos United States USA 23   20.5 h
2 20.81   Q Andrés Calonge Argentina ARG 23   20.8 h
3 20.92   Q Mani Jegathesan Malaysia MAS 24   20.9 h
4 21.06   Q Livio Berruti Italy ITA 29   21.0 h
5 21.07   Q Valentin Maslakov Soviet Union URS 23   21.0 h
6 21.28     Norman Chihota Tanzania TAN 21   21.2 h
7 21.39     Canagasabai Kunalan Singapore SIN 25   21.3 h
8 22.35     Hadley Hinds Barbados BAR 22   22.3 h
200 m Men     Round One Heat Two 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.37   Q Tommie Smith United States USA 24 (=)OR 20.3 h
2 20.66   Q Charles Asati Kenya KEN 22   20.6 h
3 20.69   Q Jochen Eigenherr West Germany FRG 21   20.6 h
4 20.69   Q Edwin Roberts Trinidad and Tobago TTO 27   20.6 h
5 21.09   Q David Ejoke Nigeria NGR 28   21.0 h
6 21.22   Q Edwin Johnson Bahamas BAH 18   21.2 h
7 22.44     Kun Min-Mu Chinese Taipei TPE 26   22.4 h
200 m Men     Round One Heat Three 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.75   Q Larry Questad United States USA 25   20.7 h
2 20.90   Q Julius Sang Kenya KEN 22   20.8 h
3 20.95   Q Edward Romanowski Poland POL 24   20.9 h
4 21.31   Q Miguel Angel González Mexico MEX 24   21.3 h
5 21.53     Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa Madagascar MAD 25   21.5 h
6 21.64     Norris Stubbs Bahamas BAH 19   21.6 h
7 22.70     Morgan Gesmalla Sudan SUD     22.6 h
200 m Men     Round One Heat Four 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.62   Q Mike Fray Jamaica JAM 21   20.6 h
2 21.00   Q Winston Short Trinidad and Tobago TTO 23   20.9 h
3 21.06   Q Hansruedi Wiedmer Switzerland SUI 23   21.0 h
4 21.31   Q Bernard Nottage Bahamas BAH 24   21.3 h
5 21.41     Philippe Housiaux Belgium BEL 20   21.4 h
6 21.53     Porfirio Veras Dominican Republic DOM 25   21.5 h
7 22.80     Juan Argüello Nicaragua NCA 21   22.7h
200 m Men     Round One Heat Five 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.93   Q Iván Moreno Chile CHI 26   20.9 h
2 20.97   Q Jacques Carette France FRA 21   20.9 h
3 21.00   Q James Addy Ghana GHA 28   20.9 h
4 21.02   Q Fernando Acevedo Peru PER 22   21.0 h
5 21.22   Q Harry Jerome Canada CAN 28   21.2 h
6 21.38     William Dralu Uganda UGA 21   21.3 h
7 22.14     Colin Thurton Belize BIZ 25   22.1 h
200 m Men     Round One Heat Six 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.23   Q Peter Norman Australia AUS 26 OR 20.2 h
2 20.61   Q Roger Bambuck France FRA 22   20.5 h
3 20.66   Q Dick Steane Great Britain GBR 29   20.6 h
4 21.58   Q Rajalingam Gunaratnam Malaysia MAS 26   21.5 h
5 21.99     Alberto Torres Dominican Republic DOM 34   21.9 h
6 23.13     José Astacio El Salvador ESA 21   23.1 h
AC DNF     Juan Franceschi Puerto Rico PUR 19    
200 m Men     Round One Heat Seven 15 October        
                   
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 20.71   Q Greg Lewis Australia AUS 21   20.7 h
2 20.73   Q Ralph Banthorpe Great Britain GBR 19   20.7 h
3 20.78   Q Nikolay Ivanov Soviet Union URS 26   20.7 h
4 21.07   Q Pedro Grajales Colombia COL 28   21.0 h
5 21.24     Gert Metz West Germany FRG 26   21.2 h
6 21.29     Carl Plaskett United States Virgin Islands ISV 25   21.2 h
7 23.93     Cristóbal Corrales Honduras HON 21   23.9 h
 

1968 Olympics Black Power salute

 The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was a political demonstration conducted by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. As they turned to face their flags and hear the American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", they each raised a black-gloved fist and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. Smith, Carlos and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Tommie Smith stated that the gesture was not a "Black Power" salute, but a "human rights salute". The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.
 

The protest

On the morning of 16 October 1968, US athlete Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race with a world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Australia's Peter Norman finished second with a time of 20.06 seconds, and the US' John Carlos won third place with a time of 20.10 seconds. After the race was completed, the three went to the podium for their medals to be presented by David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter. The two US athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride, Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the US and wore a necklace of beads which he described "were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage." All three athletes wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges after Norman, a critic of Australia's White Australia Policy, expressed empathy with their ideals.[5] Sociologist Harry Edwards, the founder of the OPHR, had urged black athletes to boycott the games; reportedly, the actions of Smith and Carlos on 16 October 1968 were inspired by Edwards' arguments.

The famous picture of the event was taken by photographer John Dominis.

Both US athletes intended on bringing black gloves to the event, but Carlos forgot his, leaving them in the Olympic Village. It was the Australian, Peter Norman, who suggested Carlos wear Smith's left-handed glove. For this reason, Carlos raised his left hand as opposed to his right, differing from the traditional Black Power salute. When The Star-Spangled Banner played, Smith and Carlos delivered the salute with heads bowed, a gesture which became front page news around the world. As they left the podium they were booed by the crowd. Smith later said, "If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight."

International Olympic Committee response

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be. In response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games.

A spokesman for the IOC said it was "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit." Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes' salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable.

Brundage had been one of the United States' most prominent Nazi sympathisers even after the outbreak of the Second World War, and his removal as president of the IOC had been one of the three stated objectives of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

In 2013, the official IOC website stated that "Over and above winning medals, the black American athletes made names for themselves by an act of racial protest."

 

Aftermath

Smith and Carlos were largely ostracized by the U.S. sporting establishment and they were subject to criticism. Time magazine showed the five-ring Olympic logo with the words, "Angrier, Nastier, Uglier", instead of "Faster, Higher, Stronger". Back home, they were subject to abuse and they and their families received death threats

Smith continued in athletics, playing in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals before becoming an assistant professor of physical education at Oberlin College. In 1995, he helped coach the U.S. team at the World Indoor Championships at Barcelona. In 1999 he was awarded the California Black Sportsman of the Millennium Award. He is now a public speaker.

 
John Carlos (left) and Tommie Smith (center) wearing black gloves, black socks, and no shoes at the 200 m award ceremony of the 1968 Olympics

Carlos' career followed a similar path. He tied the 100 yard dash world record the following year. Carlos also tried professional football, he was a 15th round selection in the 1970 NFL Draft, but a knee injury curtailed his tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He then went on to the Canadian Football League where he played one season for the Montreal Alouettes.He fell upon hard times in the late 1970s. In 1977, his ex-wife committed suicide, leading him to a period of depression. In 1982, Carlos was employed by the Organizing Committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles to promote the games and act as liaison with the city's black community. In 1985, he became a track and field coach at Palm Springs High School. As of 2012, Carlos works as a counselor at the school.

Smith and Carlos received an Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2008 ESPY Awards honoring their action.

Norman, who was sympathetic to his competitors' protest, was reprimanded by his country's Olympic authorities and ostracized by the Australian media. He was not picked for the 1972 Summer Olympics, despite having qualified 13 times over. In fact, Australia did not send any male sprinters at all to the 1972 Olympics for the first time since the modern Olympics began in 1896. When Norman died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral.

Wayne Collett and Vincent Matthews were banned from the Olympics after they staged a Black protest in the 1972 games.

Documentary films

The 2008 Sydney Film Festival featured a documentary about the protest entitled Salute. The film was written, directed and produced by Matt Norman, a nephew of Peter Norman.

On 9 July 2008, BBC Four broadcast a documentary, Black Power Salute, by Geoff Small, about the protest. In an article, Small noted that the athletes of the British team attending the 2008 Olympics in Beijing had been asked to sign gagging clauses which would have restricted their right to make political statements but that they had refused.

 
Victory Salute (2005) Rigo 23 San Jose State University

Tributes

In a 2011 speech to the University of Guelph, Akaash Maharaj, a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee and head of Canada's Olympic Equestrian team, said, "In that moment, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman, and John Carlos became the living embodiments of Olympic idealism. Ever since, they have been inspirations to generations of athletes like myself, who can only aspire to their example of putting principle before personal interest. It was their misfortune to be far greater human beings than the leaders of the IOC of the day."

San Jose

In 2005, San Jose State University honored former students Smith and Carlos with a 22-foot high statue of their protest, created by artist Rigo 23. A student, Erik Grotz, initiated the project; "One of my professors was talking about unsung heroes and he mentioned Tommie Smith and John Carlos. He said these men had done a courageous thing to advance civil rights, and, yet, they had never been honored by their own school." The statues are located in a central part of the campus at 37.335495°N 121.882556°W, next to Robert D. Clark Hall and Tower Hall.
 
Victory Salute
Those who come to view are allowed to participate by standing on the monument. Peter Norman is not included in the monument so viewers can be in his place; there is a plaque in the empty spot inviting those to "Take a Stand." Norman requested that his space was left empty so visitors could stand in his place and feel what he felt.

The bronze figures are shoeless but there are two shoes included at the base of the monument. The right shoe, a bronze, blue Puma, is next to Carlos; while the left shoe is placed behind Smith. The signature of the artist 23 is on the back of Smith's shoe, and the year 2005 is on Carlos's shoe.

The faces of the statues are realistic and emotional. "The statue is made of fiberglass stretched over steel supports with an exoskeleton of ceramic tiles." Rigo 23 used 3D scanning technology and computer-assisted virtual imaging to take full-body scans of the men. Their track pants and jackets are a mosaic of dark blue ceramic tiles while the stripes of the track suits are detailed in red and white.

 
Victory Salute

Smith is holding a wood framed box of a tiled white and green olive branch. Smith’s jacket is zipped up; the sculpture is tight, closed and fitted. He wears a medal and OPHR button. The red letters USA are on his chest and running number 307. His eyes are downcast but not dispirited. His right fist is raised with impact and guidance. He stands in a pose of supremacy. The statue is singular, like a column.

Carlos stands behind him; his jacket is open allowing the statue to have waves and movement. His form is more fluid and his eyes are more at peace. His stare is down and slightly to the right. His left arm is raised but relaxed and bent at the elbow. His right arm is behind his back and sculpted in a thumb up position. His necklace of beads is displayed with green, yellow and red ceramic tiles. His running number is divided in front because of the zipper, 25 9, but together on the back of the statue.

In January 2007, History San Jose opened a new exhibit called Speed City: From Civil Rights to Black Power, covering the San Jose State athletic program "from which many student athletes became globally recognized figures as the Civil Rights and Black Power movements reshaped American society."
   
 
Three Proud People mural in Newtown, New South Wales.

Sydney mural


In Australia, an airbrush mural of the trio on podium was painted in 2000 in the inner-city suburb of Newtown in Sydney. Silvio Offria, who allowed the mural to be painted on his house in Leamington Lane by an artist known only as "Donald," said that Norman, a short time before he died in 2006, came to see the mural. "He came and had his photo taken; he was very happy," he said.The monochrome tribute, captioned "THREE PROUD PEOPLE MEXICO 68," was under threat of demolition in 2010 to make way for a rail tunnel but is now listed as an item of heritage significance.

West Oakland mural

In the historically African-American neighborhood of West Oakland, California there was a large mural depicting Smith and Carlos on the corner of 12th Street and Mandela Parkway.

Above the life-sized depictions read "Born with insight, raised with a fist" (Rage Against the Machine lyrics); previously it read "It only takes a pair of gloves." In early February 2015, the mural was razed.

The private lot was once a gas station, and the mural was on the outside wall of an abandoned building or shed. The owner wanted to pay respect to the men and the moment but also wanted a mural to prevent tagging. The State was monitoring water contamination levels at this site; the testing became within normal levels “so the state ordered the removal of the tanks, testing equipment, and demolition of the shed.”

Music

The song "Mr. John Carlos" by the Swedish group Nationalteatern on their 1974 album Livet är en fest is about the event and its aftermath.

Rage Against the Machine used a cropped photo of the salute on the cover art for the "Testify" single (2000).

The cover art for the single "HiiiPoWeR" (2011) by American rapper Kendrick Lamar features a cropped photo of the salute.

In the song "The Man" (2014) by Aloe Blacc at the end in the right corner can be seen two men standing giving the Black Power Salute.

   

 

 

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