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Tommie Smith on his 1968 Black power salute
Tommie C. Smith is an American former track & field athlete and wide receiver in the American Football League. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, Smith, aged 24, won the 200-meter sprint finals and gold medal in 19.83 seconds – the first time the 20-second barrier was broken legally. His Black Power salute with John Carlos atop the medal podium to protest the harsh and sometimes deadly discrimination against African-Americans because of their skin color in the United States caused controversy, as it was seen as politicizing the Olympic Games. It remains a symbolic moment in the history of the Black Power movement.