1968 Olympics - Mexico City

The Games of the Nineteenth Olympiad were the highest and most controversial ever held.

Staged at 7,349 feet above sea level where the thin air was a major concern to many competing countries, the Mexico City Olympics were another chapter in a year buffeted by the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Ten days before the Olympics were scheduled to open on Oct. 12, over 300 Mexico City university students were killed by army troops when a campus protest turned into a riot. Still, the Games began on time and were free of discord until black Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who finished 1-3 in the 200-meter run, bowed their heads and gave the Black Power salute during the national anthem as a protest against racism in the U.S.

They were immediately thrown off the team by the USOC.

The thin air helped shatter records in every men's and women's race up to 1,500 meters and may have played a role in U.S. long jumper Bob Beamon's incredible gold medal leap of 29 feet, 21/2 inches –beating the existing world mark by nearly two feet.

Other outstanding American performances included Al Oerter's record fourth consecutive discus title, Debbie Meyer's three individual swimming gold medals, the innovative Dick Fosbury winning the high jump with his backwards “flop” and Wyomia Tyus becoming the first woman to win back-to-back golds in the 100 meters.


Event   Time  
 100m Jim Hines, USA 9.95 WR
  Lennox Miller, JAM 10.0  
  Charile Greene 10.0  
 200m Tommie Smith, USA 19.83 WR
  Peter Norman, AUS 20.0  
  John Carlos, USA 20.0  
 400m Lee Evans, USA 43.86 WR
  Larry James, USA 43.9  
  Ronald Freeman, USA 44.4  
 800m Ralph Doubell, AUS 1:44.3 =WR
  Wilson Kiprugut, KEN 1:44.5  
  Thomas Farrell, USA 1:45.4  
1500m Kip Keino, KEN 3:34.9 OR
  Jim Ryun, USA 3:37.8  
  Bodo Tümmler, W. Ger 3:39.0  
5000m Mohamed Gammoudi, TUN 14:05.0  
  Kip Keino, KEN 14:05.2  
  Naftali Temu, KEN 14:06  
10,000m Naftali Temu, KEN 29:27.4  
  Mamo Wolde, ETH 29:28.0  
  Mohamed Gammoudi, TUN 29:34.2  
Marathon Mamo Wolde, ETH 2:20:26.4  
  Kenji Kimihara, JPN 2:23:31.0  
  Michael Ryan, NZL 2:23:45.0  
110m H Willie Davenport, USA 13.3 OR
  Ervin Hall, USA 13.4  
  Eddy Ottoz, ITA 13.4  
400m H David Hemery, GBR 48.12 WR
  Gerhard Hennige, W. Ger 49.02  
  John Sherwood, GBR 49.03  
Amos Biwott, KEN 8:51.0  
  Benjamin Kogo, KEN 8:51.6  
  George Young, USA 8:51.8  
20k Walk Vladimir Golubnichiy, USSR 1:33:58.4  
  José Pedraza, MEX 1:34:00.0  
  Nikolai Smaga, USSR 1:34:03.0  
50k Walk Christoph Höhne, E. Ger 4:20:13.6  
  Antal Kiss, HUN 4:30:17.0  
  Larry Young, USA 4:31.55.4  
4x100m USA (Charlie Greene, Mel Pender,
Ronnie Ray Smith, Jim Hines)
38.2 WR
  Cuba 38.3  
  France 38.4  
4x400m USA (Vince Matthews, Ron Freeman,
Larry James, Lee Evans)
2:56.16 WR
  Kenya 2:59.6  
  West Germany 3:00.5  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Dick Fosbury, USA 7- 41/4 OR
  Edward Caruthers, USA 7-31/2  
  Valentin Gavrilov, USSR 7-21/2  
Pole Vault Bob Seagren, USA 17- 81/2 OR
  Claus Schiprowski, W. Ger 17-81/2  
  Wolfgang Nordwig, E. Ger 17-81/2  
Long Jump Bob Beamon, USA 29- 21/2 WR
  Klaus Beer, E. Ger 26-101/2  
  Ralph Boston, USA 26-91/4  
Triple Jump Viktor Saneyev, USSR 57- 03/4 WR
  Nelson Prudencio, BRA 56-73/4  
  Guiseppe Gentile, ITA 56-53/4  
Shot Put Randy Matson, USA 67- 43/4  
  George Woods, USA 66-0  
  Eduard Grischin, USSR 65-103/4  
Discus Al Oerter, USA 212- 6 OR
  Lothar Milde, E. Ger 206-11  
  Ludvik Danek, CZE 206-5  
Hammer Gyula Zsivóyzky, HUN 240- 8 OR
  Romuald Klim, USSR 240-5  
  Lázár Lovász, HUN 228-11  
Javelin Janis Lusis, USSR 295- 7 OR
  Jorma Kinnunen, FIN 290-7  
  Gergely Kulcsar, HUN 285-71/2  
Decathlon Bill Toomey, USA 8193 pts OR
  Hans-Joachim Walde, W. Ger 8111  
  Kurt Bendlin, W. Ger 8064  


Event   Time  
 100m Wyomia Tyus, USA 11.0 WR
  Barbara Ferrell, USA 11.1  
  Irena K. Szewinska, POL 11.1  
 200m Irena K. Szewinska, POL 22.5 WR
  Raelene Boyle, AUS 22.7  
  Jennifer Lamy, AUS 22.8  
 400m Colette Besson, FRA 52.0 =OR
  Lillian Board, GBR 52.1  
  Natalya Pechenkina, USSR 52.2  
 800m Madeline Manning, USA 2:00.9 OR
  Iona Silai, ROM 2:02.5  
  Maria Gommers, NED 2:02.6  
  80m H Maureen Caird, AUS 10.3 OR
  Pam Kilborn, AUS 10.4  
  Chi Cheng, THA 10.4  
4x100m USA (Barbara Ferrell, Margaret Bailes,
Mildrette Netter, Wyomia Tyus)
42.8 WR
  Cuba 43.3  
  Soviet Union 43.4  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Miloslava Rezková, CZE 5-111/2  
  Antonina Okorokova, USSR 5-103/4  
  Valentina Kozyr, USSR 5-103/4  
Long Jump Viorica Viscopoleanu, ROM 22- 41/2 WR
  Sheila Sherwood, GBR 21-103/4  
  Tatyana Talysheva, USSR 21-10  
Shot Put Margitta Gummel, E. Ger 64- 4 WR
  Marita Lange, E. Ger 61-71/4  
  Nadyezda Chizhova, USSR 63-6  
Discus Lia Manoliu, ROM 191- 2 OR
  Liesel Westermann, W. Ger 189-6  
  Jolán Kleiber, HUN 180-1  
Javelin Angéla Németh, HUN 198- 0  
  Mihaela Penes, ROM 196-7  
  Eva Janko, HUN 190-5  
Pentathlon Ingrid Becker, GER 5098 pts  
  Liese Prokop, AUT 4966  
  Annamária Tóth, HUN 4959