John Carlos: American Former Track and Field Athlete

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Reflective Essay: John Carlos/ Dave Zirin
Ashley Larson
On Wednesday November 2 our coordinated studies class went to see John Carlos and Dave Zirin in building 7. Going in to this I thought that it was going to be boring, I didn’t even know who John Carlos was, but I was wrong. This experience changed my life. John Carlos is an inspiration to me and so many others and I hope that I can see him again soon.

Dave Zirin talked a little bit before John Carlos spoke. He introduced Carlos by saying that he is among a handful of the best track and field runners to ever live. He explained that the African American athletes at the time got treated better, and with more respect, than any other black people at the time. For this reason it was even harder for John Carlos and Tommy Smith to do what they did in 1968 because most black people wouldn’t want this taken away from them. He said that there were 4 demands of the African American athletes to the Olympic Games; to restore Mohammad Ali's boxing title, higher more African American coaches for Track and Field, disinvite South Africa and Rhodesia from the Olympic games (these countries represented Apartied), and lastly strip Avery Brundidge of his title as the head of the International Olympic Committee. He said that the greatest athletes of the time were the ones that used their hyper exaulted platform to make a statement about the world. Tommy Smith and John Carlos had a huge decision to make before they did their action in 1968. They had to decide if they were willing to give up everything that they had for the bigger cause. "A person can only ride on your back if it is broken", this is a quote from Martin Luther king that Zirin mentioned. This really stood out to me because it is true. In John Carlos's case his back wasn’t broken; no one could break it and get him down no matter how hard they tried.

After the amazing introduction by Dave Zirin we got to hear John Carlos speak. Throughout his entire...
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