John Carlos

John Carlos

Oympian John Carlos made history during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, when he took to the international stage during the medal ceremony and made a speechless statement, heard and seen worldwide. Winning the 200 meter, Carlos accepted the Bronze medal at the Olympic podium wearing black socks and no shoes to represent impoverished people who had no shoes of their own, and raised a black-gloved fist crowning a bowed head to humbly reflect the strength of the human spirit. Carlos was joined in his statement by teammate and gold medalist Tommie Smith, and both were supported by silver medalist, Australian, Peter Norman who wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge.

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.

Today John Carlos is actively involved with global and community movements, taking to the international stage as a torch-bearer for the Human Rights Torch, which ran in parallel to the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay. That same year Carlos accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for his salute at the 2008 Espy Awards.

John Carlos at Omega