Legacy of Olympic protest: Tommie smith finds no heirs apparent

Legacy of Olympic protest: Tommie smith finds no heirs apparent

FRANCE-The well-known Olympic protest Tommie Smith feels that, in spite of the need to combat racism everywhere, especially in the United States where it “could not get any worse,” contemporary athletes are less political than their predecessors.

What happened to Olympic Activism?

When Smith, an American sprinter who won a gold medal in Mexico City in 1968, raised his fist on the medal platform to express his disapproval of racial discrimination, it became one of the most memorable images of the modern Olympics. At the height of his career, at the age of 24, he made a gesture that resulted in a lifetime suspension from sports for violating the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) policy against making political remarks. 

Smith said in Paris, the host city of the next Games starting on July 26, “I think athletes are now geared more on themselves in terms of making better times for themselves, so they can gain further in the future,” because in the past they suffered consequences for trying to improve the system. The 80-year-old made no attempt to persuade others to follow in his footsteps while on Tuesday touring a significant new Olympic display. “I encourage them to follow their own mind and do what they think is a necessity,” stated the former world record holder in the 200 meters. After giving up sports, he taught high school for 35 years.

Where are the next generation of leaders?

With American football player Colin Kaepernick spearheading the “take the knee” campaign to protest racism and other sports adopting LGBT rights, anti-discrimination demonstrations have become more widespread in the sports world in recent years. Article 50 of the IOC charter, which aims to keep the Games impartial and divorced from divisive topics, still forbids athletes from making political remarks while competing. 

In less than 50 days, Paris 2024 will get underway amid significant global unrest stemming from China’s escalating assertiveness towards Taiwan, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, and Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza. Three weeks before the competition begins, the host nation of France will have early legislative elections in which far-right anti-immigration political groups are vying for control for the first time since World War II. Smith stated he was “worried about the world, not only in track and field, but the political view of the world.” Smith emphasizes that he fights for universal human rights, not black rights. “The world is changing, and there are many things that are happening now that weren’t happening before. And for many others, that may be dangerous,” he continued.

Has the fight for equality stalled?

As per uksports, Smith said that racism in his own nation could “not get any worse” ahead of the US election in November, when Donald Trump is trying to win back the White House. “I pray that it will get different than what it is now,” he stated to AFP. “You know I don’t think it could get any worse, I really don’t.” As a guest of the French bank Casden, Smith recreated his iconic posture in front of a massive picture of himself, fellow American sprinter Jean Carlos, and Australian Peter Norman during their visit to the exhibition “Olympism, a history of the world”. According to japantoday, White silver medallist Norman donned a badge on the podium for the “Olympic Project for Human Rights,” a group Smith and Carlos founded to combat racism in sports. Norman was never given formal approval; instead, he was disgraced when he came home and was never given consideration by Australian selectors. Smith praised the “forgotten man” of the Mexico protest as “one of the greatest persons I ever met”. Peter Norman was not on our side. He subscribed to the idea of human rights “, he remarked. “This wasn’t a move for black athletes, but it was a human move.” Smith expressed excitement about seeing the sprinters compete in Paris, but if he could go back in time and compete in the French city, would he make the same move on the podium?

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

A big event, the olympics 2024 is going to be started soon but the government has not proper arrangements for the public and fans. Security issues are increasing day by day in France due to which countries’ teams are doubtful about the presence of their team in Olympics 2024. Fans should boycott this event because the high price of tickets is not bearable for fans and also for the public.  The Authorities are taking this event for granted but not doing any useful acts for this event. 



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