Thomas C. (Tommie) Smith (Clarksville, TexasJune 5, 1944) is a former American sprinter of African descent, who specialized in the 200 m. He was Olympic champion, multiple American Champion and ran world records in the 200 m, 220 yd400 m and 4 x 400 m relay.


[hide]*1 Biography


WR 200 m in a straight line[Edit]Edit

Smith ran In 1965 in San José exactly 20.0 s about 220 yd in one straight line, a world record. A year later he did so again in the same spot and then was the first in the world with 19.5 exactly half a second faster. He previously held on July 24 in Los Angeles with his teammates Robert FreyLee Evans and Theron Lewis also broke the world record in 4 x 400 metres relay to 2.59, 6. As a student at the San José State University in 1967, he was American Champion in the 220 yd. ' at the universiadehe won a silver medal in the 100 m and a gold medal in the 200 m.

Banished as Olympic champion[Edit]Edit

By winning the 200 m at the US Championships he placed in 1968 for the Olympic Games in Mexico City. Here he achieved the greatest success of his athletic career: winning a gold medal in the 200 m. with a world record time of 19.83 defeated the Australian Peter Norman (Silver; 20.06) and the American John Carlos (bronze; 20.10).

At the medal ceremony made Tommie Smith and John Carlos, also black number three for a controversial moment. Both appeared without shoes in black socks on stage, to express the poverty among black Americans. Then they crossed with bowed head and one in black gloved fist in the air (the Black Power salute), in protest against the position of blacks in society. The white Peter Norman, who won the silver medal, supported their protest by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. Smith and Carlos were immediately deleted due to their political statement from the US Olympic team and invited to leave the Olympic village .

Professor and coach[Edit]Edit

After his career as athlete Tommie Smith played three seasons as American Football wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was the Athletics Director at Oberlin College in Ohio, where he was also professor in the sociology. He was coach at the Santa Monica College and got several awards for his sports performance.


  • Olympic champion 200 m-1968
  • American Champion 220 yd-1967
  • American Champion 200 m-1968
  • NCAA-champion 220 yd-1967, 1968

Personal bests[Edit]Edit

Part Performance Date Place
100 m 10.1 s 1966
200 yd 20.0 s (ex-WR) 11 June 1968 Sacramento
200 m 19.83 s (ex-WR) October 16, 1968 Mexico-City
400 m 44.5 (ex-WR) 20 May 1967 San José


100 m[Edit]Edit

  • 1967: [1]Universiade-10.5 s

200 m[Edit]Edit

  • 1967: [2]Universiade-20.7 s
  • 1968: [3]American camp. -20.3 s
  • 1968: [4]OS-19.83 s

220 yd[Edit]Edit

  • 1967: [5]American camp. -20.4 s


  • USA Track and Field Hall of Fame-1978
  • California Black Sports Hall of Fame-1996
  • Sportsman of the Millennium Award-1999

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