Global Black History
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A Brief History of Black Accomplishments at Olympic Games

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The first ever event of the modern Olympic Games was the 1st heat of the 100m, held on 6 April 1896. The first time women competed was in 1900 in Paris. However, the history of black athletes at the Olympic Games begins in 1900. Black people from around the World will once again be making history in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the 2016 Olympic Games. Additionally, five refugees from South Sudan will join five others from Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia to make history by taking part in the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. Below are a few notable events in the history of black participation at the Olympic Games:

1900– Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera, was the first black athlete to compete at the Olympics by competing for France.

1908– John Taylor, was the first black athlete to win a gold medal as part of the US relay team in athletics.

1936– Jesse Owens won four gold medals during the Olympic Games in Berlin. He is credited for single handedly crushing Hitlers myth about Aryan supremacy.

1960– Abebe Bikila was the first black African to win a gold medal, the Ethiopian marathoner ran barefoot all the way in Rome, and broke the world record. Bikila, this time wearing shoes, retained his title in Tokyo four years later with another world record.

1968– Kip Keino was the first Kenyan won the 1500m race at the Olympics in Mexico.

1992– Derartu Tulu, the first Ethiopian woman to win a gold medal, which she won in the 10,000 m event at the Barcelona Olympic Games

2004– Cameroon’s Françoise Mbango won Triple Jump gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

MOST DECORATED BLACK OLYMPIC ATHLETES

Carl Lewis, of the United States is one of only four Olympic athletes to have won nine Olympic gold medals and one silver, is widely recognized as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the most decorated sprinter of all time, with six gold medals.

Alison Felix of the United States has a total of 6 medals at the Olympic Games, 4 gold and 2 silver.

Evelyn Ashford of the United States has a total of 5 medals at the Olympic games, 4 gold and 1silver.

Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica boasts of 7 medals at the Olympic games, 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has won a total of 4 medals at the Olympic games, 3 gold, 1 silver.

Terunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia also has a total of 5 medals at the Olympic games, 3 gold and 2 bronze.

BLACK PROTEST AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

VictorySalute at 1968 Olympic GamesThe 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was a political demonstration conducted by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After having won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200 meter running event, they turned on the podium to face their flags, and to hear the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Each athlete raised a black-gloved fist, and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. Smith, Carlos and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games. In response to their actions, International Olympic Committee (IOC president) Avery Brundage, a well-known Nazi sympathizer ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the expulsion of the two athletes from the Games.

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