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  • John Carlos

    Does anyone know why John Carlos did not run the 100 meters in the 1968 Olympic Trials? I cannot find any evidence that he did.

  • #2
    from my recollection of the era, he was a 200 specialist who rarely ran 100s before '69

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    • #3
      Even then he lost to Ivory Crockett in the 1969 AAU 100.

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      • #4
        Guessing he ran a slew of 100 yards while at East Texas State, he was the Lone Star Conference champ in both sprints. Do have a 9.5 from 1965, and apparently he took 5th in the 65 Nationals in the 100 yards. So he did run a few 100's.

        I have wondered the same thing about Carlos and 1968. Always feel like we missed out on seeing one of the great 4x1 teams..

        Charlie Green...Jimmy Hines....John Carlos...Tommie Smith

        A check engine light kept me from seeing his 9.1 world record in Fresno, I lived in Visalia about 50 miles south of Ratcliff Stadium, afraid to chance it.

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        • #5
          He simply didn’t qualify for the olympic trials as he was eliminated in his heat during tha AAU…

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          • #6
            Carlos's performance in that AAU meet is interesting.

            The 100 heats, semifinals, final, and runoff were all held on June 20. Carlos finished fifth in Heat 3. As Syd DeRoner wrote in T&FN: "The heats had gone according to form with only two exceptions. John Carlos, wearing an elastic bandage on his bad leg, ran fifth and Stan Allotey was dead last."

            The 200 heats, semifinals, and final were all held on June 21. Carlos finished second in the final, behind Tommie Smith. As Ed Fox wrote in T&FN: "John Carlos' performance was particularly impressive. After weeks of non-competition due to an injury, he ran with a heavily bandaged thigh and delivered three strong races, missing his best by a tenth in the final. He showed exceptional early speed, especially on the curve, and had good staying power. Only Tommie Smith and probably the absent Hines were in his class this night."

            Perhaps he ran the 100 to test his leg, and it held up well enough to give him confidence that he could go all-out in the 200.
            Last edited by Davidokun; 11-23-2021, 06:28 PM. Reason: Punctuation

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            • #7
              Had he not been injured Carlos was probably a 50/50 chance to make the Olympic team. He had beaten Hines by a small margin in the 100 at the Colosseum Relays two weeks before the AAU, and later finished a very close second to Pender at the pre-trials event at Echo Summit. In between Carlos toured Europe but I know of only one race for him at the 100 - a second placed 10.4 (hand timed) behind Ronnie Ray Smith (10.3) and Bambuck (10.5) in Cologne. Pender got the third spot on the Olympic team by just beating Smith and Clyde Glosson. Carlos might have got in front of them had he been there.

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              • #8
                It was September 28th, 1968 (after Echo Summit, and before Mexico City) - Victoria, B.C., Canada. We hosted a Pre-Olympic Meet,
                with some amazing athletes, and some very good performances. Especially considering it wasn't warm enough to be an optimal day
                for sprinting, and we had a one year old rubber-asphalt track, which wasn't bad, but again with much less "bounce" than a true synthetic...
                I am happy to be able to remember that I was the co-Meet Director, and the Stadium Announcer, at the ripe old age of 22 ! And I
                had been dispatched to Echo Summit a couple of weeks earlier to try and talk some Americans to come to our Meet, and was successful
                in getting the whole USA Men's sprint team (100 through 400) to come to Victoria, although many chose to only run the relays. So, we
                had the USA 4 x 100 team, and the USA 4 x 400 team, both of which won in Mexico City a few weeks later ... but one of them didn't win
                in Victoria .... I will get to that
                Centennial Stadium was rocking ! It was only 1 year old, named for Canada's Centennial year, with seating for 3,000. However, as
                soon as we heard that "the Americans were coming", we arranged for an additional 2,000 temporary bleachers .,.. and the place was a
                sell out !
                Anyways, to get to the topic at hand, John Carlos was the only athlete to contest 3 events that day. He won the 100 metres in 10.1
                seconds (hand-timed), over Lennox Miller of Jamaica ... who you may recall won the Olympic silver in 10.04 in Mexico City. Carlos
                also won the 200 metres in 20.4, over Larry Questad. And then it was time for the legendary 4 x 100 metres, basically USA "A", vs.
                USA "B". The "A" team was the team that won the Olympic gold ... Greene to Pender to Smith to Hines. The "B" team was long jumper
                Charlie Mays to Questad to Carlos to a certain Mr. T. Smith ! (earlier in the day, Tommie absolutely cruised (shades on) to a 45.2 victory
                in the 400 metres. So, Greene and Pender built up about a 4 metre lead over the first two legs. Then Carlos took the baton and
                stormed after Ronnie Ray Smith, who was one of the co-world-record holders at 100 metres at that time. Carlos ran him down by about
                2 metres, and passed off to Tommie Smith, who was about 2 metres down on Jimmie Hines ( who was about to be the Olympic gold
                medallist at 100 metres / 9.95 seconds). Tommie ran him down, passed just before the tape, threw the baton about 80 feet into the
                air, and the Stadium went nuts !!! It was magic ... the "B" team won
                Later on, at the post-meet party, I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Tommie and John, and many others, and got to know their
                personal stories ... it was amazing, Oh, and then John Carlos took on the 4th event of the day for him ... he, and Benedict Cayenne,
                800 metre runner from Trinidad, got up and helped the disc jockey play the best possible music for the event ! Awesome !
                Sorry, if this took too long ... but my 53 year old memories, of John Carlos and friends, are still clear and as exciting as always !

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                • #9
                  If I could witness one race I have never seen it would be that 4x1 where Smith runs down Hines.

                  Second.....Houston McTear running that HS 9.0.

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                  • #10
                    The sad part of the story about the Meet in 1968 ... we had the audio-visual department of the University show up with a camera-man,
                    and he taped the whole Meet. A few days later, I went over to pick up the tape ... and someone had taped over it ! So, as far as I
                    am aware, there is no visual record of the incredible events on that day ! However, I'm quite certain I'm making all this up

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rsb3 View Post
                      The sad part of the story about the Meet in 1968 ... we had the audio-visual department of the University show up with a camera-man,
                      and he taped the whole Meet. A few days later, I went over to pick up the tape ... and someone had taped over it ! So, as far as I
                      am aware, there is no visual record of the incredible events on that day ! However, I'm quite certain I'm making all this up
                      Great story, and you are definitely not making it up. Its reported on page 14 of the Daily Colonist on 29 September 1968:

                      https://ia903102.us.archive.org/18/i...1968_09_29.pdf

                      Its a big download - you will have to wait a few minutes.

                      Edwin Roberts was third in both the 100 and 200. Harry Jerome apparently had a "virus infection" ;-)

                      According to the newspaper article, none of the USA relay "A" team competed in the individual events so they were fresh to attempt to break the 4x100 world record ... not only did they miss the record, they didn't even win the race. I've argued in my book that the best 4x1 team should arguably be taken from the pool of the top 200m runners, because of the bends and that the benefit of a great start is mostly irrelevant (the 2017 WC is a good example).

                      The lead story from the meet was 15 year old Debbie Brill's HJ win (and "midget world record", whatever than means) with the "Brill Bend" - I wonder if this is the first mention of it in a newspaper?

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                      • #12
                        Yes, I knew I wasn't making it all up, it was a (small) joke. For those who are going to do the download, don't just check out page 14,
                        make sure to also check out page 16, with much more coverage of the Meet ... including the picture of Jimmie Hines and Tommie Smith,
                        about to receive the baton for that amazing battle to the tape, in the 4 x 100 m. relay. For those watching that day, it's fascinating that the
                        4 men in that little picture would be part of so much drama over the next 3 weeks. Five medals from Mexico City, including 4 golds (2
                        for Jimmie Hines in the 100 and relay, 1 for Ronnie Ray Smith in the relay, 1 for Tommie Smith in the 200) and a bronze for John Carlos
                        in the 200. And 2 World Records in individual events (Hines and Smith), and a World Record in the Relay. And in addition to the action
                        on the track, there was the drama on the victory podium after the Men's 200 !!!

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