John Carlos And the Famous 1968 Olympics Power Salute

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John Carlos the famous Field Hall of Fame athlete and Olympian is in Kenya. Competing in the 200 meters, Carlos earned the Gold in the 1967 Pan American Games, and the Bronze in the 1968 Olympics.

A record setter, Dr. Carlos led San Jose State to its first NCAA championship in 1969 with victories in the 100 and 220, and as a member of the 4×110-yard relay. He also set indoor world bests in the 60-yard dash and 220-yard dash at the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

As a youth growing up in Harlem, New York, John Carlos was a gifted athlete and student whose influences and sense of hard work and determination were instilled by his mother and father. It was a local police officer who first prompted a young John to pursue Track and Field as more than just a game of chase with the neighborhood kids.

Dr. Carlos credits scholastic encouragement and organized athletics, along with community-minded mentors, for keeping him focused, out of trouble, and the foundation for his drive to achieve and succeed.

During their medal ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

While on the podium, Smith and Carlos, who had won gold and bronze medals respectively in the 200-meter running event of the 1968 Summer Olympics, turned to face the US flag and then kept their hands raised until the anthem had finished. In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets.

International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage immediately ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned them from the Olympic Village. No penalties or repercussions were enforced on the Australian, Peter Norman by the IOC.

Following the controversial 1968 Olympic medal ceremony, all three athletes suffered lingering effects of their gesture, the most serious of which were death threats against Carlos, Smith, and their families. Contrary to reports, Carlos and Smith were not stripped of their medals.

Carlos went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, worked with the United States Olympic Committee, the Organizing Committee of the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the City of Los Angeles. Since 1985, Dr. Carlos has been a counselor, in-school suspension supervisor, and track and field coach at Palm Springs High School in California.

 John Carlos arrived in Kenya on Friday to grace the Kip Keino classic continental tour at Kasarani Stadium.  

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