On This Day

John Carlos

Track & Field athlete and Civil Rights Activist John Carlos

Full Name: John Wesley Carlos
Profession: Track & Field athlete and Civil Rights Activist

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: After taking the bronze medal in the 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Carlos along with gold medal winner and fellow African-American Tommie Smith caused huge controversy when they gave the Black Power salute on the medal podium.

The incident drew world attention and as a result the International Olympic Committee expelled the pair from the Games.

Post athletics Carlos had a brief, injury affected career in the Canadian Football League; became a school counsellor; track and field coach; worked for the US Olympic Committee, the Organising Committee of the 1984 Olympics and the City of Los Angeles.

Carlos and Smith accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for their salute, at the 2008 ESPY Awards. Carlos is also a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

Born: June 5, 1945
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, USA
Age: 75 years old

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rooster
Star Sign: Gemini

Historical Events

  • 1968-10-16 Americans Tommie Smith (gold 19.83 WR) and John Carlos (bronze) famously give the Black Power salute on the 200m medal podium during the Mexico City Olympics to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans
  • 1968-10-18 US Olympic Committee suspends Tommie Smith and John Carlos for giving the Black Power salute to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans during Olympic medal ceremony

Biographies and Sources