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Rethinking Olympic history
The 1968 black-power salute and the Olympic ideal
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alk about revisionist history, said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. ESPN has given this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two runners who gave the black power salute on the medal platform at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The Games are supposed to be about putting politics aside to celebrate sports, so why reward them for what “amounted to an obscene gesture aimed directly at the Olympic ideal”?

These men put themselves on the line to help make the world a better place, said Alex Dimond in Bleacher Report. That’s precisely “what the Olympic dream is all about.” This was 1968—the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination—and Smith and Carlos made a statement against racial injustice and the exploitation of black athletes that the world needed to hear.

And they paid dearly for their courage, said Bill Fletcher Jr. in The Louisiana Weekly. “They were attacked as unpatriotic,” and “they were denied future job opportunities.” With all the racism, sexism, and war-mongering still plaguing the world today, one can only hope there are still athletes like Carlos and Smith out there. “We need them as much today as ever."

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