By Tony McClean
Updated: November 19, 2007
Tommie Smith & John Carlos
Tommie Smith & John Carlos

NEW HAVEN , CT.— It still remains as one of the most boldest and bravest acts in the history of sports and politics. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were both propelled into human rights spokesmanship long before it became a popular cause.

Their raised fists following the 200 meter final in 1968 Olympics (won by Smith, with Carlos taking the bronze) is one of the most memorable moments of the turbulent times at Mexico that summer.

Cheered by some, jeered by others, and ignored by many more, Smith and Carlos’ “Stand for Victory” is one of the most important and controversial political stands ever made by a prominent athlete.

Now over 30 years later, Carlos and Smith will stand together again.

The pair along with 11 others will be inducted into the African American Ethnic Hall of Fame on July 8 in Sacramento , California .

Ironically, Carlos overcoming early-season injuries in 1968 and obliterated Smith’s world record in the 200-meter dash at the U.S.

Olympic Trails at Lake Tahoe that year.

His time of 19.7 seconds smashed the 20-second barrier. Also during the Mexico Games, Carlos established a new Olympic record for 200 meters during the preliminary rounds


Among the other members of this year’s inductees are former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, track and field pioneers Alice Coachman and Harrison Dillard, and football/track standouts Milt Campbell and Herb Douglass.

Coachman was the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal and the only American woman to win a gold medal in the 1948 Olympics in London .

Dillard became the only man in Olympic history to win the 100-meter dash and the 110-meter hurdles.

At one point, Dillard simultaneously owned 11 World, Olympic and American records.

This year’s class also includes Olympic Gold medalists John Woodruff, Lee Evans, Edith McQuire, Wyomia Tyus, and coaching standout Wilbur Ross.

Ross, who has served as a high school track coach, college track coach, and international track coach has an impressive resume that includes several famous students along the way.

Among some of his students include Renaldo Nehemiah, Carl Lewis, Greg Foster, Willie Gault, Roger Kingdom, Tony Dees, Michael Johnson, and Andre Cason, just to name a few.

Rounding out the 2004 inductees is Dr. Reginald Pearman. In 1947, Pearman won three collegiate championships and qualified for the 1948 Olympics in London .

Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles tendon injury during the Olympic Trials and wasn’t able to compete.