Mexico City, Mexico hosted the men’s 200 meters event at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Tommie Smith won the final at a world-record speed of 19.83 seconds. The race is likely best remembered for what happened during the medal ceremony when Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos gave a Black Power salute. The salute’s history, ramifications, and legacy were carried over into the following Olympics, and it is possibly the most remembered event from these games.
The event began on October 15 and ended on October 16. A total of 50 athletes representing 37 countries competed. Since the 1930 Olympic Congress, the maximum number of athletes per nation has been fixed at three. Smith’s victory was the US’s second in a row and their 12th overall. Peter Norman’s bronze medal was Australia’s second in the men’s 200 meters, following Stan Rowley’s bronze 68 years previously.
This was the event’s 15th occurrence; it was not included in the first Olympics in 1896 but has been on the schedule ever since. Edwin Roberts of Trinidad and Tobago, fourth-place finisher Harry Jerome of Canada, and fifth-place finisher (and 1960 gold medallist) Livio Berruti of Italy were three of the eight finalists from the 1964 Games who returned.
Tommie Smith won the AAU championships in 1967 and 1968, while John Carlos won the Pan American Games in 1967 and the U.S. Olympic trials in 1968. (with a time that would have been a world record, but was not ratified because his shoes had too many spikes). Both were widely favored, however they had pondered boycotting the Olympics to protest racial prejudice in the US.
SWIMMING 200M BUTTERFLY WOMEN RESULTS IN MEXICO CITY IN 1968
Barbados, British Honduras (Belize), El Salvador, West Germany, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, Tanzania, and the Virgin Islands all made their debuts in the competition. The United States competed in its 15th edition of the 200 meters, making it the only country to have competed in every event to date.
Format of the competition
Heats, quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final were utilized in the competition, which was first held in 1920. In the heats, the “fastest loser” system, which was first employed in 1960, was used once more.
There were seven heats, each with seven or eight racers, with the top four men in each heat, as well as the next four fastest overall, progressing to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals had four heats of eight athletes apiece, with the four fastest men from each heat progressing to the semifinals. Two semifinals were held, each with eight runners. The top four athletes advanced once again. There were eight runners in the final. On a 400-meter track, the races were held.