Tommie Smith and John Carlos are two of the most iconic Olympic Athletes in American history. After winning gold and bronze in the 200 meter race at the 1968 Summer Games, both men stood on the podium and gave the black power salute during the American National Anthem. What you may not know is that after their gesture, the men were banned from the Olympics in Mexico City and sent back home. It wasn’t until this year that the US Olympic Committee (USOC) officially recognized the two men and their achievements.
And that is what the USOC is looking to do. Over the past 10 days the organization has reconnected with not only Carlos and Smith, but also the families of the 18 black athletes from the 1936 Summer Games that included Jesse Owens. They too were never officially recognized until this year.
The USOC understands it cannot change the past, but is looking to make amends as best they can while moving towards the future. In giving a presentation on administrative diversity, they were brutally honest in their failures but also had plans for growth. Only time will tell where the organization will head, but this is a great time for the USOC.