Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant scenes in sports and civil rights history. On October 16, 1968, U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos ran the 200 meter sprint fast enough to medal at the Summer Games in Mexico City. When the San Jose State alumni stepped up on the podium to hear the national anthem, they bowed their heads and raised their fists in the air.
It was an act of civil disobedience — part of the Black Power movement of the 1960s. It was electric. And it almost never happened. The men had actually had considered boycotting the Games to call attention to racial injustice. You can see the moment commemorated in a statue on the San Jose State University campus.
A few years ago, John sat down with To The Best of Our Knowledge host Steve Paulson to talk about exactly what happened. The book he referenced is “The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World.”