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.
- 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
- They didn’t #TakeTheKnee: The Black Power protest salute that shook the world in 1968 - The Washington Post