Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith's Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history. Here, John Carlos tells his own version of the story. Written in collaboration with Dave Zirin, author of the groundbreaking People's History of Sports in the United States (The New Press, 2009 - Turnaround), his eye-opening and immensely readable autobiography finally introduces readers to the man behind the salute.
John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete and professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze-medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to equal the world record in the 100 yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record. After his track career, he enjoyed brief stints in the National Football League and Canadian Football League but retired due to injury. He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. He later became a track coach at a high school in Palm Springs, where he now resides. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003. Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports, A Peoples' History of Sports in the United States, What's My Name Fool! and Welcome to the Terrordome. He writes the popular weekly online sports column The Edge of Sports (edgeofsports.com) and is a regular contributor to SI.com, SLAM, the Los Angeles Times, and The Nation where he is the publication's first Sports Editor. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.