Published Jul 04, 2018 07:21am

From The Past Pages Of Dawn: 1968: Fifty Years Ago: Olympic opening boycott

Agencies

SAN FRANCISCO: A Negro journalist said here yesterday [July 2] that the United States Black athletes would go to the Mexican Olympics, but show their discontent by refusing to mount the winner’s rostrum and not taking part in the opening parade.

The journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed this decision had been taken by Negro athletes during last week’s Olympic selection trials in Los Angeles. “I could not name one black athlete who could not go to the Olympics if he qualifies,” he said. “They decided there were other ways to demonstrate their discontent with the situation.”

The journalist added that a speech by famous Negro athlete Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, asking everybody to cooperate to make the US team the best in the world, was met with stony silence. Mr. Owens has been a staunch opponent of any Mexico boycott by US Negroes.

The journalist claimed that Negro athletes had gone to Los Angeles for the Olympic trials with the aim of “shutting the Whites out of the first four in every heat. They didn’t care about times or setting records,” he said. “Black athletes got eight out of 10 places in the 100 metres dash, the top four in the 400, and were best in the long jump, triple, 1,000 metres and hurdles.”

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018

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