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John Wesley Carlos (born June 5, 1945) is an American former track and field athlete and professional football player. He was the bronze-medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics, and his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to tie the world record in the 100-yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record (although the latter achievement was never certified). After his track career, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Canadian Football League but retired due to injury.[1
He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. Following this, he became a track coach at Palm Springs High School. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003. He is the author, with sportswriter Dave Zirin, of The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, published in 2011 by Haymarket Books. I would like to say John is a personal friend he is a person I hold with the highest amount of respect for his personal sacrifice that the average person
The 1968 Olympic Trials were held on the Californian side of Lake Tahoe at Echo Summit trailhead, which at 7,377 feet above sea level is approximately the same altitude as Mexico City. Carlos won the 200-meter dash in 19.92 seconds, beating world-record holder Tommie Smith and surpassing his record by 0.3 seconds. Though the record was never ratified because the spike formation on Carlos’ shoes (“brush spikes”) was not accepted at the time, the race reinforced his status as a world-class sprinter.
Carlos became a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), and originally advocated a boycott of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games unless four conditions were met: withdrawal of South Africa and Rhodesia from the games, restoration of Muhammad Ali’s world heavyweight boxing title, Avery Brundage to step down as president of the IOC, and the hiring of more African-American assistant coaches. As the boycott failed to achieve support after the IOC withdrew invitations for South Africa and Rhodesia, he decided, together with Smith, to participate but to stage a protest in case he received a medal. Following his third-place finish behind fellow American Smith and Australian Peter Norman in the 200 at the Mexico Olympics, Carlos and Smith made headlines around the world by raising their black-gloved fists at the medal award ceremony. Both athletes wore black socks and no shoes on the podium to represent African-American poverty in the United States. In support, Peter Norman, the silver medalist who was a white athlete from Australia, participated in the protest by wearing an OPHR badge.
John Carlos (right) and Tommie Smith (center) showing the raised fist on the podium after the 200 m race at the 1968 Summer Olympics; both wear Olympic Project for Human Rights badges. Peter Norman (silver medalist, left) from Australia also wears an OPHR badge in solidarity with Smith and Carlos.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were intended to be. In response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the expulsion of the two athletes from the Games.
A spokesman for the IOC said Smith and Carlos’s actions were “a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit.” Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes’ salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable.
Carlos had his greatest year in track and field in 1969, equaling the world 100-yard record of 9.1, winning the AAU 220-yard run, and leading San Jose State to its first NCAA championship with victories in the 100 and 220 and as a member of the 4×110-yard relay. He was featured on the cover of Track and Field News’ May 1969 issue.
He was also the gold medalist at 200 meters at the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and set indoor world bests in the 60-yard dash (5.9) and the indoor 220-yard dash (21.2).
Following his track career, Carlos, a 15th-round selection in the 1970 NFL Draft, tried professional football, but a knee injury curtailed his tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. In such situations, it is advised to consult expert traffic accident attorneys to claim compensation for the injury caused. He then went on to the Canadian Football League where he played one season for the Montreal Alouettes. Following his retirement from football, Carlos worked for Puma, the United States Olympic Committee, the Organising Committee of the 1984 Summer Olympics and the City of Los Angeles.
In 1985, Carlos became a counselor and in-school suspension supervisor, as well as the track and field coach, at Palm Springs High School in California. In 2003, he was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
In 2005, a statue showing Carlos and Smith on the medal stand was constructed by political artist Rigo 23 and dedicated on the campus of San Jose State University.
In 2006, John Carlos delivered a eulogy at Peter Norman’s funeral and was also a pallbearer at the ceremony, as was Tommie Smith.
In 2007, John Carlos was honored at the Trumpet Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Carlos is the godfather of Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams. Carlos and Williams’ father ran track together in college.
In April 2008, Carlos was a torch-bearer for the Human Rights Torch, which ran in parallel to the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay and focusing attention on China’s human rights record.
On July 16, 2008, John Carlos and Tommie Smith accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for their salute, at the 2008 ESPY Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, California.
On October 10, 2011, Carlos spoke and raised his fist at Occupy Wall Street. He said: “Today I am here for you. Why? Because I am you. We’re here forty-three years later because there’s a fight still to be won. This day is not for us but for our children to come.” The following day he appeared on MSNBC and on Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
In July 2018, Carlos attended the Socialism 2018 conference hosted by the International Socialist Organization.
An airbrush mural of the trio on the podium exists in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. Silvio Offria, who allowed an artist known only as “Donald” to paint the mural on his house, said Norman came to Newtown to see the mural before he died in 2006, “He came and had his photo taken, he was very happy.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia