MEXICO CITY 1968
In the year of student revolution, politics intruded directly into the Games. Tommie Smith, winner of the 200 metres in world-record time, and third-placed John Carlos bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists in a Black Power salute during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
They were expelled from the village and sent home in what even at the time was seen as a knee-jerk over-reaction by the International Olympic Committee.
The thin air of Mexico City also contributed to world records in the 100 metres by Jim Hines, the 400m by Lee Evans and the 400m hurdles by Briton David Hemery.
Bob Beamon soared 8.90 metres in the long jump, a leap beyond the measuring capacity in the pit. Officials confirmed the mark, which was to last 23 years, with a steel tape used by building surveyors.
Al Oerter won a fourth consecutive discus title and Dick Fosbury exhibited his radical new technique in the high jump, rolling backwards over the bar in the style which swiftly became the norm.
** Mexico City was awarded the 1968 Games in 1963.
** The choice of Mexico City to host the 1968 Games was a
controversial one because of the city high altitude - 2240m above sea level -
which meant that air contained 30% less oxygen than at sea level.
** Some medical authorities even forecast possible deaths
during the Mexico Games of 1968 since the venue was at a high altitude, which
would affect competitors in events that required endurance.
The Mexico Games in 1968 led to records in events that were 400 meters
or shorters, while the long distance events were the slowest ever recorded for a
** Mexican hurdler Enriqueta Basilio became the
first woman to light the Olympic flame in the stadium during the 1968 Games.
** The Mexico Games in 1968 was the first to conduct sex
testing for women.
** Eulalia Rolinska of Poland and Gladys
de Seminario of Peru were the first women to compete in the shooting events
during the 1968 Games.
** When American Bob Beamon jumped
the record 8.90m in the long jump even in the 1968 Games, it was beyond the
limits of the measuring device in use at the pit, and a steel tape had to be
used. Beamon in fact had added 55cm to the then existing world record.
** During the 1968 Games, the existing Olympic record was
beaten by seven men in the triple jump, and the world mark was improved on five
** The 100m sprint for men in the 1968 Games was
unique because for the first time all the eight finalists were black!
** Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who had come
first and third respectively in the 200m sprint in the 1968 Games, raised
black-gloved, clenched fists during the medal ceremony when the anthem was
played. For this action they were suspended and expelled from the Olympic
** American Janice Romary became the first woman
to compete in consecutive Games in 1968. She also became the first woman to
carry the flag for her country in a Games opening ceremony.
** In the 5.5m class yachting event in the 1968 Games,
three Swedish brothers Ulf, Peter and Jorgen Sundelin crewed their boat Wasa IV
to any easy victory, while four Pettersson brothers combined to win Sweden a
silver medal in cycling's team time trial.
** For the first
time since 1928, India failed to reach the final of the men's field hockey event
during the 1968 Games.
** Japan who won a bronze medal in
the soccer competition in the 1968 Games, were the first and only Asian team to
win a medal and first non-European team to do so in 40 years.
** The 1968 Mexico Games saw the first drug
disqualification, when Swedish entrant in the modern pentathon, Hans-Gunnar
Liljenwall, tested positive for excessive alcohol.