John Wesley Carlos (born June 5, 1945) is an American former track and field athlete and professional football player. He was the bronze-medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics, and his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to tie the world record in the 100-yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record (although the latter achievement was never certified). After his track career, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Canadian Football League but retired due to injury.
John Carlos in 2012
|Born||June 5, 1945|
Harlem, New York, United States
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight||187 lb (85 kg)|
|Club||Santa Clara Valley Youth Village|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||100 y – 9.1 (1969)|
100 m – 10.0 (1968)
200 m – 19.92 (1968)
440 y – 47.0 (1967)
He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. Following this he became a track coach at Palm Springs High School. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003.
He is the author, with sportswriter Dave Zirin, of The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, published in 2011 by Haymarket Books.
Early life and educationEdit
Born in Harlem, New York, to Cuban parents, John Carlos was a gifted high school athlete and outstanding student who went on to study at East Texas State University on a full track-and-field scholarship. His victories in the 100- and 200-meter dash and as a member of the 4×400-meter relay helped lead ETSU to the 1967 Lone Star Conference Championship. After his first year, Carlos enrolled at San Jose State University where he was trained by future National Track & Field Hall of Fame coach, Lloyd (Bud) Winter.
Carlos was awarded an honorary doctorate from California State University in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded honorary doctorates from his alma maters Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University) and San Jose State University.
The 1968 Olympic Trials were held on the Californian side of Lake Tahoe at Echo Summit trailhead, which at 7,377 feet above sea level is approximately the same altitude as Mexico City. Carlos won the 200-meter dash in 19.92 seconds, beating world-record holder Tommie Smith and surpassing his record by 0.3 seconds. Though the record was never ratified because the spike formation on Carlos' shoes ("brush spikes") was not accepted at the time, the race reinforced his status as a world-class sprinter.
Carlos became a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), and originally advocated a boycott of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games unless four conditions were met: withdrawal of South Africa and Rhodesia from the games, restoration of Muhammad Ali's world heavyweight boxing title, Avery Brundage to step down as president of the IOC, and the hiring of more African-American assistant coaches. As the boycott failed to achieve support after the IOC withdrew invitations for South Africa and Rhodesia, he decided, together with Smith, to participate but to stage a protest in case he received a medal. Following his third-place finish behind fellow American Smith and Australian Peter Norman in the 200 at the Mexico Olympics, Carlos and Smith made headlines around the world by raising their black-gloved fists at the medal award ceremony. Both athletes wore black socks and no shoes on the podium to represent African-American poverty in the United States. In support, Peter Norman, the silver medalist who was a white athlete from Australia, participated in the protest by wearing an OPHR badge.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were intended to be. In response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the expulsion of the two athletes from the Games.
A spokesman for the IOC said Smith and Carlos's actions were "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit." Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes' salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable.
Carlos had his greatest year in track and field in 1969, equaling the world 100-yard record of 9.1, winning the AAU 220-yard run, and leading San Jose State to its first NCAA championship with victories in the 100 and 220 and as a member of the 4×110-yard relay. He was featured on the cover of Track and Field News' May 1969 issue.
Following his track career, Carlos, a 15th-round selection in the 1970 NFL Draft, tried professional football, but a knee injury curtailed his tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He then went on to the Canadian Football League where he played one season for the Montreal Alouettes. Following his retirement from football, Carlos worked for Puma, the United States Olympic Committee, the Organising Committee of the 1984 Summer Olympics and the City of Los Angeles.
In 1985, Carlos became a counselor and in-school suspension supervisor, as well as the track and field coach, at Palm Springs High School in California. In 2003, he was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
In 2006, John Carlos delivered a eulogy at Peter Norman's funeral and was also a pallbearer at the ceremony.
In 2007, John Carlos was honored at the Trumpet Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On October 10, 2011, Carlos spoke and raised his fist at Occupy Wall Street. He said: "Today I am here for you. Why? Because I am you. We're here forty-three years later because there's a fight still to be won. This day is not for us but for our children to come." The following day he appeared on MSNBC and on Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
An airbrush mural of the trio on podium exists in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. Silvio Offria, who allowed an artist known only as "Donald" to paint the mural on his house, said Norman came to Newtown to see the mural before he died in 2006, "He came and had his photo taken, he was very happy."
In February 2019 he was the guest speaker at the WISTCA Clinic and "owned Middleton for over an hour".
- John Carlos Archived June 11, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. sports-reference.com
- "'You got 48 hours' Speech by Dr. John Carlos". YouTube. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
- 1968 Olympians Return to Echo Summit, USA Track & Field, Bob Burns, June 27, 2014.
- TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY AT TAHOE: Past heroes like Billy Mills and Gerry Lindgren failed at the U.S. Olympic Trials and Jim Ryun nearly did, but for others, like John Carlos, Lee Evans and Bob Seagren, the meet was sheer heaven, Sports Illustrated (Vault), John Underwood, Sept. 23, 1968.
- "The Forbidden Shoe".
- Zirin, Dave; Edwards, Gareth (June 28, 2012). "Resistance: the best Olympic spirit". International Socialism. 135.
- On This Day: Tommie Smith and John Carlos Give Black Power Salute on Olympic Podium. Findingdulcinea.com. Retrieved on 13 June 2015.
- "1968: Black athletes make silent protest". BBC. 17 October 1968. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
- "The Olympic Story", editor James E. Churchill, Jr., published 1983 by Grolier Enterprises Inc.
- Past Covers 1969. Trackandfieldnews.com. Retrieved on June 13, 2015.
- Ray Didinger; Robert S. Lyons (2005). The Eagles Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. pp. 244–. ISBN 978-1-59213-454-0.
- "John Carlos". www.cflapedia.com.
- Crumpacker, John (October 18, 2005). "OLYMPIC PROTEST: Smith and Carlos Statue captures sprinters' moment". San Francisco Chronicle.
- http://www.humanrightstorch.org/news/ Archived April 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Velinov, Ivan (April 8, 2008) San Francisco Welcomes Human Rights Torch. humanrightstorch.org.
- Heredia, Christopher; Jones, Carolyn; Finz, Stacy (April 6, 2008). "Numbers low for S.F. Human Rights Torch rally". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Dave Zirin, "Dr. John Carlos Raises His Fist With Occupy Wall Street", The Nation, October 11, 2011.
- "Socialism 2018 Olympian John Carlos on the benefits of socialism". Youtube. Hard Lens Media. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- Josephine Tovey, "Last stand for Newtown's 'three proud people'", Sydney Morning Herald, July 27, 2010.
- Carlos, John (July 13, 2016). "Raising my fist at the Olympics cost me friends and my marriage — but I'd do it again". Vox. As told to Eleanor Barkhorn.
- Bates, Karen Grigsby (October 16, 2018). "50 Years Later, Raised Fists During National Anthem Still Resonate". Morning Edition. NPR.
- Brown, DeNeen (October 16, 2018). "'A cry for freedom': The Black Power salute that rocked the world 50 years ago". Washington Post.