| Event type

200 metres, Men

Date15 – 16 October 1968
LocationEstadio Olímpico Universitario, Ciudad de México
Participants50 from 37 countries
Olympic Record 20.3 WR / Henry Carr USA / 17 October 1964

Coming into the year, Tommie Smith was considered the best 200 runner but John Carlos had won the Olympic Trials in an unratified world record of 19.7/19.92 – it was not accepted because his shoes had too many spikes. Smith had won the AAU in 1967-68, while Carlos was 1967 Pan American Champion. In the semi-final, Smith pulled an adductor muscle and ran the final with his thigh wrapped. Carlos came off the turn 1½ metres in the lead but Smith then accelerated, turning on what he called his “Tommie Jets” and powered past the field to win with almost a 2½ metre lead despite closing it down in the last 10 metres, still running a world record 19.83. Carlos slowed near the end after Smith passed him and the gold medal was gone, and was passed on the run-in by Australia’s Peter Norman.

Smith and Carlos almost did not compete in the Olympics. African-Americans, they considered joining a black boycott of the Olympics that was being organized by San José State professor Harry Edwards. But they elected to make their own protest instead. On the victory podium, they mounted it barefoot, wearing civil rights badges, and as The Star-Spangled Banner played, they lowered their heads and raised a single, black-gloved fist. The IOC was irate at this political protest during the Olympics, and the US Olympic Committee expelled them from the team. Peter Norman joined them in the protest by also wearing the civil rights badge. Vilified by the American and international media, Smith and Carlos have since become heroes to the cause of American civil rights, and human rights in general. They also never forgot Norman, and when he died in 2006, they served as pallbearers at his funeral. In 2008 Smith and Carlos received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, presented by ESPN. Carlos has made some noise in recent years, claiming he let Tommie Smith win the gold medal in 1968, but those who saw the race have no doubt as to Smith’s dominance.

1307Tommie SmithUSA20.3 (1 h2)20.2 (1 h3)20.1 (1 h2)19.8 (1)GoldWR
2111Peter NormanAUS20.2 (1 h6)20.4 (1 h2)20.2 (2 h1)20.0 (2)Silver
3259John CarlosUSA20.5 (1 h1)20.6 (1 h1)20.1 (1 h1)20.0 (3)Bronze
4776Edwin RobertsTTO20.6 (4 h2)20.4 (2 h3)20.4 (2 h2)20.3 (4)
5344Roger BambuckFRA20.5 (2 h6)20.6 (3 h4)20.4 (4 h1)20.5 (5)
6297Larry QuestadUSA20.7 (1 h3)20.5 (2 h4)20.4 (3 h2)20.6 (6)
7533Mike FrayJAM20.6 (1 h4)20.3 (1 h4)20.4 (3 h1)20.6 (7)
89Jochen EigenherrFRG20.6 (3 h2)20.5 (2 h2)20.4 (4 h2)20.6 (8)
5 h1 r3/4227Iván MorenoCHI20.9 (1 h5)20.8 (4 h2)20.8 (5 h1)
5 h2 r3/4109Greg LewisAUS20.7 (1 h7)20.8 (2 h1)20.5 (5 h2)
6 h1 r3/4424Dick SteaneGBR20.6 (3 h6)20.8 (3 h1)20.8 (6 h1)
6 h2 r3/4678Edward RomanowskiPOL20.9 (3 h3)20.8 (3 h3)20.7 (6 h2)
7 h1 r3/4807Nikolay IvanovURS20.7 (3 h7)20.8 (4 h3)20.8 (7 h1)
7 h2 r3/4386Ralph BanthorpeGBR20.7 (2 h7)20.8 (4 h4)20.8 (7 h2)
8 h1 r3/4659Fernando AcevedoPER21.0 (4 h5)20.7 (3 h2)20.8 (8 h1)
8 h2 r3/4588Mani JegathesanMAS20.9 (3 h1)21.0 (4 h1)21.0 (8 h2)
5 h1 r2/4573Julius SangKEN20.8 (2 h3)21.0 (5 h1)
5 h2 r2/4561Charles AsatiKEN20.6 (2 h2)20.8 (5 h2)
5 h3 r2/4639David EjokeNGR21.0 (5 h2)20.9 (5 h3)
5 h4 r2/4374James AddyGHA20.9 (3 h5)20.9 (5 h4)
6 h1 r2/4350Jacques CaretteFRA20.9 (2 h5)21.1 (6 h1)
6 h2 r2/4497Livio BerrutiITA21.0 (4 h1)21.0 (6 h2)
6 h3 r2/497Andrés CalongeARG20.8 (2 h1)21.0 (6 h3)
6 h4 r2/4816Valentin MaslakovURS21.0 (5 h1)20.9 (6 h4)
7 h1 r2/4126Kevin JohnsonBAH21.2 (6 h2)21.4 (7 h1)
7 h2 r2/4777Winston ShortTTO20.9 (2 h4)21.5 (7 h2)1
7 h3 r2/4757Hansruedi WiedmerSUI21.0 (3 h4)21.4 (7 h3)
7 h4 r2/4182Pedro GrajalesCOL21.0 (4 h7)21.0 (7 h4)
8 h1 r2/4171Harry JeromeCAN21.2 (5 h5)21.4 (8 h1)
8 h2 r2/4592Rajalingam GunaratnamMAS21.5 (4 h6)21.5 (8 h2)
8 h3 r2/4612Miguel Ángel GonzálezMEX21.3 (4 h3)21.5 (8 h3)
8 h4 r2/4128Bernie NottageBAH21.3 (4 h4)21.5 (8 h4)
5 h3 r1/4583Jean-Louis RavelomanantsoaMAD21.5 (5 h3)
5 h4 r1/4135Philippe HousiauxBEL21.4 (5 h4)
5 h6 r1/4702Alberto TorresDOM21.9 (5 h6)
5 h7 r1/430Gert MetzFRG21.2 (5 h7)
6 h1 r1/4769Norman ChihotaTAN21.2 (6 h1)
6 h3 r1/4130Norris StubbsBAH21.6 (6 h3)
6 h4 r1/4703Porfirio VerasDOM21.5 (6 h4)
6 h5 r1/4787William DraluUGA21.3 (6 h5)
6 h6 r1/4234José AstacioESA23.1 (6 h6)
6 h7 r1/4492Carl PlaskettISV21.2 (6 h7)
7 h1 r1/4719Canagasabai KunalanSGP21.3 (7 h1)
7 h2 r1/4764Kun Min-MuTPE22.4 (7 h2)
7 h3 r1/4721Morgan GesmallaSUD22.6 (7 h3)
7 h4 r1/4627Juan ArgüelloNCA22.7 (7 h4)
7 h5 r1/4454Colin ThurtonBIZ22.1 (7 h5)
7 h7 r1/4860Cristóbal CorralesHON23.9 (7 h7)
8 h1 r1/4858Hadley HindsBAR22.3 (8 h1)
AC h6 r1/4690Juan FranceschiPUR– (AC h6)
DNS207Pablo MontesCUB– (DNS h2)
DNS510Ito GianiITA– (DNS h6)
DNS536Lennox MillerJAM– (DNS h5)
DNS598Hassan El-MechMAR– (DNS h7)

Round One (15 October 1968 — 10:30)

Top four in each heat and next four fastest advanced to the quarter-finals.

Heat One

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17John CarlosUSA20.520.54Q
24Andrés CalongeARG20.820.81Q
35Mani JegathesanMAS20.920.92Q
46Livio BerrutiITA21.021.06Q
51Valentin MaslakovURS21.021.07q
68Norman ChihotaTAN21.221.28
73Canagasabai KunalanSGP21.321.39
82Hadley HindsBAR22.322.35

Heat Two

Wind0.5 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Tommie SmithUSA20.320.37Q=OR
22Charles AsatiKEN20.620.66Q
37Jochen EigenherrFRG20.620.69Q
48Edwin RobertsTTO20.620.69Q
51David EjokeNGR21.021.09q
65Kevin JohnsonBAH21.221.22q
74Kun Min-MuTPE22.422.44
DNS6Pablo MontesCUB

Heat Three

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Larry QuestadUSA20.720.75Q
25Julius SangKEN20.820.90Q
33Edward RomanowskiPOL20.920.95Q
41Miguel Ángel GonzálezMEX21.321.31Q
54Jean-Louis RavelomanantsoaMAD21.521.53
62Norris StubbsBAH21.621.64
77Morgan GesmallaSUD22.622.70

Heat Four

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Mike FrayJAM20.620.62Q
25Winston ShortTTO20.921.00Q2
37Hansruedi WiedmerSUI21.021.06Q
44Bernie NottageBAH21.321.31Q
56Philippe HousiauxBEL21.421.41
62Porfirio VerasDOM21.521.53
71Juan ArgüelloNCA22.722.80

Heat Five

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Iván MorenoCHI20.920.93Q
25Jacques CaretteFRA20.920.97Q
31James AddyGHA20.921.00Q
44Fernando AcevedoPER21.021.02Q
53Harry JeromeCAN21.221.22q
67William DraluUGA21.321.38
78Colin ThurtonBIZ22.122.14
DNS2Lennox MillerJAM

Heat Six

Wind1.2 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17Peter NormanAUS20.220.23QOR
25Roger BambuckFRA20.520.61Q
32Dick SteaneGBR20.620.66Q
43Rajalingam GunaratnamMAS21.521.58Q
56Alberto TorresDOM21.921.99
64José AstacioESA23.123.13
AC1Juan FranceschiPURDNF
DNS8Ito GianiITA

Heat Seven

Wind1.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
17Greg LewisAUS20.720.71Q
22Ralph BanthorpeGBR20.720.73Q
33Nikolay IvanovURS20.720.78Q
44Pedro GrajalesCOL21.021.07Q
51Gert MetzFRG21.221.24
68Carl PlaskettISV21.221.29
75Cristóbal CorralesHON23.923.93
DNS6Hassan El-MechMAR

Quarter-Finals (15 October 1968 — 15:40)

Top four in each heat advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
15John CarlosUSA20.620.69Q
21Greg LewisAUS20.820.81Q
36Dick SteaneGBR20.820.81Q
42Mani JegathesanMAS21.021.01Q
57Julius SangKEN21.021.04
63Jacques CaretteFRA21.121.15
74Kevin JohnsonBAH21.421.41
88Harry JeromeCAN21.421.43

Heat Two

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
12Peter NormanAUS20.420.44Q
26Jochen EigenherrFRG20.520.53Q
37Fernando AcevedoPER20.720.78Q
48Iván MorenoCHI20.820.83Q
51Charles AsatiKEN20.820.84
63Livio BerrutiITA21.021.01
74Winston ShortTTO21.521.51
85Rajalingam GunaratnamMAS21.521.52

Heat Three

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
16Tommie SmithUSA20.220.28Q=OR
25Edwin RobertsTTO20.420.50Q
38Edward RomanowskiPOL20.820.85Q
47Nikolay IvanovURS20.820.90Q
52David EjokeNGR20.920.99
64Andrés CalongeARG21.021.03
71Hansruedi WiedmerSUI21.421.42
83Miguel Ángel GonzálezMEX21.521.57

Heat Four

Wind0.0 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Mike FrayJAM20.320.39Q
26Larry QuestadUSA20.520.54Q
31Roger BambuckFRA20.620.63Q
48Ralph BanthorpeGBR20.820.83Q
57James AddyGHA20.920.90
62Valentin MaslakovURS20.920.96
75Pedro GrajalesCOL21.021.05
83Bernie NottageBAH21.521.53

Semi-Finals (16 October 1968 — 15:20)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

Wind0.2 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
11John CarlosUSA20.120.12QOR
26Peter NormanAUS20.220.22Q
35Mike FrayJAM20.420.46Q
47Roger BambuckFRA20.420.47Q
58Iván MorenoCHI20.820.84
62Dick SteaneGBR20.820.85
74Nikolay IvanovURS20.820.89
83Fernando AcevedoPER20.820.91

Heat Two

Wind0.6 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
14Tommie SmithUSA20.120.14Q=OR
25Edwin RobertsTTO20.420.44Q
36Larry QuestadUSA20.420.48Q
47Jochen EigenherrFRG20.420.49Q
58Greg LewisAUS20.520.53
61Edward RomanowskiPOL20.720.80
72Ralph BanthorpeGBR20.820.88
83Mani JegathesanMAS21.021.05

Final (16 October 1968 — 17:50)

Wind0.9 m/s
PosLaneAthleteNOCTime (H)Time (A)
13Tommie SmithUSA19.819.83WR
26Peter NormanAUS20.020.06
34John CarlosUSA20.020.10
48Edwin RobertsTTO20.320.34
52Roger BambuckFRA20.520.51
65Larry QuestadUSA20.620.62
71Mike FrayJAM20.620.63
87Jochen EigenherrFRG20.620.66