Top Ten Olympic Scandals and Tragedies

3 – Black Power Salutes by Olympic Athletes (1968)

In 1968’s Olympic Summer Games in Mexico City, two black athletes showed their political leanings by using the black power salute while on the Olympic podium.

One athlete, a talented track and field competitor named Tommie Smith, won the gold medal for his performance in the 200m dash in Mexico City. The other athlete, John Carlos, won the bronze medal in the same event. While sharing the podium with another, white athlete, both runners gave the infamous black power salute.

Silver medallist, Australian runner Peter Norman, stood beside them, and donned a badge supporting human rights, to show his solidarity with them.

The IOC were dismayed at the political display, and attempted to punish the athletes by stripping them of their team member status. Many people thought the actions of the athletes involved were noble and heroic, and the actions of the IOC were not acceptable to a lot of people.

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