The effects of altitude
It was the first times the Games had taken place in Latin America at such a high altitude above sea level (2 300m). The altitude was an advantage in the events which needed a brief but intense effort (running up to 800m, jumping, throwing, weightlifting, etc.) but a handicap for efforts lasting longer than two minutes (long-distance and middle-distance running, swimming, cycling, etc.)
The German athletes
The athletes from the German Democratic Republic competed in their own team under the name of “East Germany”. It was only in 1972 that they took part under the official name of their country, “German Democratic Republic”.
In the footsteps of Columbus
The itinerary of the Olympic torch relay followed in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, tracing the route of his first journey from Spain to the New World.
A special year
The year 1968 was extremely important from a political point of view. The People’s Republic of China found itself in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, the attempt to liberalize Czechoslovakia was crushed by Soviet troops, the French government was caught up in student demonstrations and throughout the United States, peace and civil rights demonstrations were taking place. Mexico was not forgotten in this wave of revolution- students and teachers were on strike and held large protest rallies, bloodily repressed at the Square of Three Cultures.
Over and above winning medals, the black American athletes made names for themselves by an act of racial protest. During the medal presentation ceremony, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medal winners in the 200m, raised a black-gloved fist and hung their heads when their country’s national anthem was played. In doing this, they were protesting against racial segregation in the United States and were subsequently expelled from the Olympic Village.
For the first time, the winners had to undergo a doping test (narcotics, stimulants).
The appearance of tartan
A synthetic material (tartan) was used for the first time on the athletics track.
The athletics, cycling, rowing, canoe, swimming and equestrian competitions were timed manually and electronically- for the first time, the electronic time was the official one
Mexico 12 October 1968. Opening ceremony : Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo (MEX) climbs with the Olympic torch.
Official opening of the Games by: President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz
Lighting the Olympic Flame by: Norma Enriqueta Basilio de Sotelo (athletics)
Olympic Oath by: Pablo Lugo Garrido (athletics)
Official Oath by: The officials' oath at an Olympic Summer Games was first sworn in 1972 in Munich.