On This Day

Tommie Smith

Sprinter and Civil Rights Activist Tommie Smith

Profession: Sprinter and Civil Rights Activist

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: In 1968, at the Summer Olympics, a 24-year old Smith was the first person to break the 20-second barrier for the 200-meter sprint–winning gold in the process. After winning this, Smith and John Carlos celebrated atop the podium with the Black Power salute. This controversy, and Smith's record-breaking talent, set him on the path to be not only a star athlete but also a civil rights icon.

Born: June 6, 1944
Birthplace: Clarksville, Texas, USA
Age: 76 years old

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

Articles and Photos

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