The Black Power Salute at the 1968 Mexico City Games was a
powerful silent protest against racial discrimination by two black American
sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Teammates at university, Smith and Carlos won gold and
bronze respectively in the 200m. On the podium they collected their medals and
when the American National Anthem started to play they began their secretly
planned non-violent protest.
Shoeless but wearing black socks and black gloves the pair
bowed their heads and raised their fists in the air to represent black power
and unity in America. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent
black pride while Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with
all blue collar workers in the U.S.
Australia’s Peter Norman, the 200m silver medallist
supported the protest by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge.
Smith and Carlos were expelled from the Games immediately
and on return to the US they were ostracized by some and praised by others for