Protesting Against Racism at the 1968 Olympics Essay

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Protesting Against Racism at the 1968 Olympics

Demonstrators and protesters vary from religious, environmental, social, civil, and political rights groups. They use the Olympic games to get their message or beliefs across to a larger viewing public. Some demonstrations and protests are quite peaceful, while others, are chaotic and often lead to violence. These individuals can be seen as early as the opening ceremonies and as late as the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Many athletes also have demonstrated their support to some of these groups. Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Cathy Freeman, and Naim Suleymanoglu, just to name a few, are among the individuals who have exercised their beliefs in social, civil, and political rights of their
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Smith and Carlos, who finished first and third in the 200-meter run, bowed their heads, wearing black socks and black leather gloves, raised their fist in the Black power salute as the Star Spangled Banner played and the American flag was raised. Their actions were a protest against racism in the U.S. Later, Smith concluded that their actions were not of a Black power salute, but an Olympic project for human rights. He also stated that the Black-gloved fists represented African-American pride, and their black socks were a testament to poverty encountered by African-Americans during those times (Boogard, 2000,p. D1). The U.S. organizing committee immediately removed Smith and Carlos from the track and field team as a result of their protest. Smith and Carlos however took advantage of their day in the spotlight and made news around the world. They stood for something that is needed to be corrected, which was racism, and took a stand. Over the years, the tensions of racism slowly decreased in the U.S., as a result of one of the biggest nationwide protest ever seen. Naim Suleymanoglu, also known as "Pocket Hercules," is another athlete who used the Olympic games to represent oppression among his countrymen. Naim grew up as part of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, where he trained to be the most dominant weightlifter in his weight class for many years. He would have been a sure gold
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