Tommie Smith and John Carlos

Unidentified Artist1968

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

Tommie Smith won gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Olympic Summer Games in Mexico City, but he and John Carlos, who won bronze in the event, are best known for their gesture of protest during the medal ceremony. As the Star Spangled Banner played and two American flags were raised, Smith and Carlos stood on the victory platform with their black-gloved fists lifted in the air and their heads bowed down. Smith was a multiple national and world record holder in the 200 meters, and like Carlos and other African American athletes, he had a growing political consciousness, especially on issues of race. While his career as an athlete eventually faded, he went on to become a teacher and a track coach and has continued to be involved in social causes.


  • Title: Tommie Smith and John Carlos
  • Creator: Unidentified Artist
  • Date Created: 1968
  • Physical Dimensions: w17.4 x h21.6 cm (Image)
  • Type: Gelatin silver print
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of David C. Ward
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2017.69
  • Classification: Photograph

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