Anniversary of 1968 Olympics Protest

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October 16 is the 47th anniversary of the courageous protest by US athletes Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Australian Peter Norman at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Smith and Carlos took direct action with their fists in the sky, while having the support and solidarity of Peter Norman, who wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights button on the medal stand. The protest called for the reinstatement of Muhammad Ali as the heavyweight boxing champion after being stripped for resisting the Vietnam War draft, the removal of Avery Brundage as the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his noted sympathizing with and apologizing for racist government regimes, and for the IOC to ban countries that practiced apartheid, especially if they sent all-white teams to the Games. Smith, Carlos and Norman faced harsh reactions in their home countries in the aftermath of their statement. But their iconic statement, overlapping the worlds of sport and political action, has been vindicated with the passage of time as being on the right side of history.

The american sprinters Tommie Smith,John Carlos and Peter Norman during the award ceremony of the 200 m race at the Mexican Olympic games. During the awards ceremony, Smith and Carlos protested against racial discrimination: they went barefoot on the podium and listened to their anthem bowing their heads and raising a fist with a black glove. Mexico City, Mexico, 1968 Mexico city, Mexico, 1968

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