October 14, 2010

'Black Power' Olympic Saluter To Sell Gold Medal: But not, he insists, because he needs the money. Tommie Smith, the Olympic sprinter whose political display got him expelled from the 1968 Olympic Games, is selling the gold medal that started the whole controversy.

posted by AaronGNP to olympics at 02:55 PM - 6 comments

If you want to share it with the public, you donate it to the Smithsonian or the museum of your choice. If you want money, you auction it off with a starting bid of $250,000.

posted by bperk at 02:56 PM on October 14, 2010

Agreed. I don't understand what the big deal (about it being for money) is, aside from pride. I don't think it should surprise many that a black Olympian from the 60s was unable to cash in on their success like today's Olympians are able to. If he's living meagerly, 250k+ would go a long way. I would even guess that this will end up going for way more than 250k.

posted by AaronGNP at 03:01 PM on October 14, 2010

I agree that not all Olypians gain fame and fortune from their sucess in the games. What I don't get is if he's not doing it for money then what is he doing it for? He has several degrees including a Masters which should account for gainful enployment and or a career at some level. His bio indicates that he taught and coached track and field at Santa Monica College for 27 years. Perhaps bperk is right. It should be donated to his alma mater or a museum. But how can we read the minds of those who do things we don't understand? Obviously he can with it what he wishes. No doubt he earned it.

posted by wildbill1 at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2010

@bperk He didn't say he didn't want money he said he doesn't need it.

posted by Jackjeckyl at 03:30 PM on October 15, 2010

John Carlos (the bronze-medalist) is on Tell Me More on NPR right now. He says that he has no reason to believe that Tommie Smith needs money and suspects (although it doesn't sound like the two have spoken about this--or perhaps anything--anytime recently) that the reason for auctioning the medal is to fund an organization for children he has been thinking about for years. Carlos also indicated that Smith has expressed a good deal of remorse over the black power solute in the intervening years--in large part due to backlash against him and his family--so he may be looking to both create some separation from this chapter of his life and use the medal to achieve a greater goal.

posted by bender at 02:35 PM on October 18, 2010

Here is link to that interview.

posted by bender at 02:49 PM on October 18, 2010

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