In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward while gesturing skyward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman is at left. (AP Photo/File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A U.S. Olympic champion who famously raised his black-gloved fist during a 1968 medal ceremony says he’s proud to see current professional athletes drawing attention to racial inequality and social injustice using peaceful protests during the national anthem.

File-This July 16, 2008, file photo shows Tommie Smith, left, and John Carlos accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs Awards in Los Angeles. Smith and Carlos, the American sprinters whose raised-fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics are an ageless sign of race-inspired protest, will join the U.S. Olympic team at the White House next week for its meeting with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Tommie Smith received his gold medal in the 200 meters in Mexico City. Smith and American bronze medalist John Carlos lowered their heads and raised their fists during America’s national anthem and were later booed.

The 72-year-old Smith tells The Columbus Dispatch ( ) he took those actions because Black athletes’ attempts to be heard were limited.

Smith commented about more recent protests ahead of a Thursday panel at Ohio State University, where he’s set to discuss the role of athletes’ activism in social change.

He now lives near Stone Mountain, Georgia.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,


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