Essay on Black Power Salute

Words: 1948
Pages: 8

The Olympics are held every four years and are used as a global stage for many thousands of sportsmen and women who come from many different countries around the world to demonstrate their abilities ranging from running to rowing. In theory, the Olympic Games are supposed to be free from any politics and be purely about the athlete’s competition and celebrations. It is supposed to be non-gender, non-religion and non-race biased to show the accomplishment of the athletes that compete. Sporting officials are also supposed to be un-biased offering equal opportunities to all athletes.
In the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City, this was not the case as two black American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a silent political
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Smith went on to discuss how they were poorly mistreated in the Olympic Village. They felt like animals that were being forced to perform in a circus.
Recently, Tommie Smith was asked what he was doing and thinking prior to what occurred at the victory stand. He reiterated one statement “Praying. I was praying underneath the bleachers, I was praying of the walk up to the victory stand and the entire time I was up there.” It is believed that his praying was out of fear of what could happen if this went wrong.
On his website, Tommie Smith goes on to question ethics by asking “do we have a right to interfere or protest inhumane conditions in other countries?” An example can be the 1936 Berlin Olympics Games. Avery Brundage was the 5th President of the International Olympic Committee from 1952 to 1972. He felt that a political declaration had no place in the international environment of the Olympic Games. It was Brundage that had both men barred from the Olympic Village and then suspended. Yet he had no objections against the Nazi salute during the Berlin Olympics, “The Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was accepted in a competition of nations, while the athletes' salute was not of a nation and so was considered unacceptable.” This was a man who at the last minute replaced the only two Jews on the US track team as to not embarrass Hitler with a Jewish victory. He also was seen praising the Nazi regime at the Madison Square rally.