Tommie Smith

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameTommie C.•Smith
Used nameTommie•Smith
Born6 June 1944 in Clarksville, Texas (USA)
Measurements191 cm / 84 kg
AffiliationsSanta Clara Valley Youth Village, Santa Clara (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


As an all-round sprinter, Tommie Smith was a worthy successor to the great Henry Carr. In 1966, Smith set four world records – 200m and 220y straight and turn; in 1967 he posted world records at 400m and 440y; and he claimed his seventh individual world record when he won the 1968 Olympic 200m title. Smith also won the AAU and NCAA 220y in 1967 and the AAU 200m in 1968. He was also a member of the first team (with Lee Evans and the non-Olympians Robert Frey and Theron Lewis) to run under three minutes for the 4x400m relay when the U.S. clocked 2:59.6 in an international meet at Los Angeles in 1966.

During the victory ceremony in Mexico City, Smith gained much publicity when he and bronze medalist, John Carlos, made a protest for black power and unity and were expelled from the Olympic Village. (It is often written that their medals were removed, but that is incorrect.) After graduating from San Jose State in 1969, Smith turned to professional track, and played pro football for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He later became a professor and athletic director at Oberlin College and then a professor at a college near Los Angeles. In 2019 Smith and Carlos were inducted into the USOPC Hall of Fame, a measure of retribution and apology for the censure they had faced 51 years earlier.

Personal Bests: 100y – 9.3 (1967); 100 – 10.1 (1966); 200 – 19.83 (1969); 220y – 19.5s (1966); 400 – 44.5 (1967).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Tommie Smith
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States DNS

Special Notes