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Documentary "THE STAND": Tommie Smith & John Carlos’ Famous Protest Is As Relevant As Ever

August 7, 2020

Documentary "THE STAND": Tommie Smith & John Carlos’ Famous Protest Is As Relevant As Ever

August 7, 2020

In 1968 there was a powerful moment of protest at the Olympic games when two winners put on black gloves to protest what was happening in the country during the civil rights era. 52 years later the gesture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium is still of relevance. In the educational documentary THE STAND, the story is told in a manner it deserves.


PUMA ambassador and Track & Field legend Tommie Smith and John Carlos‘ Black Power salute on the 200-meter podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics resulted in an educational documentary PUMA collaborated on. The Stand first screened in 2018.  At the time, however, the producer struggled to find a wider release. With the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked protests across the globe and a conversation on equality and race, this now changed. Beginning this month, The Stand can be viewed on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, among several other options.

Trailer for THE STAND


We had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard.

Tommie Smith

What happened on that day again?

It was 1968, when Tommie Smith won the 200 m Gold medal at the Mexico City Summer Olympics, in world record time, to become the first person to run sub 20 seconds over the distance. But it were also the events that followed his competition for which Tommie will be forever remembered. Tommie Smith and fellow American John Carlos, who had won the bronze, knowing that the entire world was watching, decided to make a stand for their beliefs. On their way to the medal ceremony, they took off their shoes and walked to the victory stand in black socks to protest poverty. They wore beads and a black scarf to protest lynching. And finally, once on top of the podium and the national anthem commenced, they lowered their heads in defiance and raised their black-gloved fists in protest of the treatment of their fellow citizens and communities of color back home. That powerful gesture can still be seen throughout today’s protests.

As John Carlos later recalls, “As the anthem began and the crowd saw us raise our fists, the stadium became eerily quiet. There’s something awful about hearing fifty thousand people go silent, like being in the eye of a hurricane.”

Tommie Smith and John Carlos paid a price for their gesture, starting with the boos as they walked off the field. But in the half-century since, generations have recognized the moral courage in what they did.

You can watch the whole documentary here!


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