Interviews

Tommie Smith: The Black power salute was a cry for freedom

Tommie Smith explained the reason behind his iconic Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic games as he discussed its impact, the ongoing fight for racial equality and the role sport can play in promoting inclusivity at the 2020 Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit.

Smith, who won gold in the 200m, and his team-mate, bronze medallist John Carlos, held up a black-gloved fist as the US national anthem was played during the medal ceremony to protest against the ongoing civil rights injustices in America.

The gesture made headlines around the world and remains a symbolic moment in the history of the Black Power movement.

Now a PUMA ambassador, Smith addressed 250 Young Leaders from around the world at the virtual Young Leaders Summit, which was presented by Etihad Airways.

“The victory stand was not meant to be indicative of violence, at all,” he said.

“It did not mean we misrepresent the flag. It was about the cry for freedom, the need to be equal to those who serve on the same staff as you.

“The staff is called life, for me. The victory stand for me was a platform for that staff, to realise that equality is necessary to preserve the entity of happiness.”

You can watch all of Tommie’s talk in the video above.

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