Today marks the 50th anniversary of Tommie Smith and John Carlos' iconic black power salute on the 200-meter dash podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Jules Boykoff explains the significance of this radical act in this excerpt from Power Games.
Although GANEFO’s genesis was related to diplomatic problems that arose from Indonesia’s hosting of the IVth Asian Games in 1962 and the subsequent suspension of the Indonesian Olympic Committee, it was also an explicit attempt to link sport to the politics of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and the emergence of the Third World.
Hosting the Olympics on the world stage provides host governments with the incentive to bail out fiscal mishaps so as to avoid embarrassment under the global media spotlight. Knowing this allows private firms to relinquish responsibility when the going gets rough.