63 4x400 relay team salute Mexico
1968: The USA team which won the 4 by 400 metres relay in a world record breaking performance leave the arena, holding aloft clenched fists, at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico. Demonstrations, commercial or political, in the Olympic arenaare forbidden under the IOC Charter. At the Mexico Games this was breached by some black US sprinters who after their victories raised a hand covered by a black glove and wore no shoes at the medal ceremony to symbolise the plight of black Americans, some of whom lived in poverty and were denied some human rights. This was not an instant emotive reaction, for Tommie Smith, the winner of the 200 metres, and John Carlos were members of an American organisation called the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The IOC indicated that the athletes should be punished and left that to the US Olympic Committee, who expelled them from the team. But others followed their lead. While a rule was broken, the demonstration itself provided a small contribution to another Olympic principle of fighting against any form of discrimination.