Olympic Project for Human Rights

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Olympic Project for Human Rights or OPHR was an organization established by sociologist Harry Edwards and others, including noted Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, in October 1967. The aim of the organization was to protest racial segregation in the United States and elsewhere (such as South Africa), and racism in sports in general.[1] Smith noted that the project was about human rights, of "all humanity, even those who denied us ours."[2] Most members of the OPHR were African American athletes or community leaders.

The group advocated a boycott of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games unless four conditions were met: South Africa and Rhodesia uninvited from the Olympics, the restoration of Muhammad Ali’s world heavyweight boxing title, Avery Brundage to step down as president of the IOC, and the hiring of more African-American assistant coaches.[3] While the boycott largely failed to materialize, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and Australian sprinter Peter Norman, wore OPHR patches during the medal ceremony for the 200 meter race. Tommie Smith and John Carlos also raised their hands in a "human rights salute" during the playing of the US national anthem. Despite being a primarily African American organization, the OPHR was supported by white athletes such as Norman and members of the Harvard University rowing team.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zirin, Dave: Resistance: the best Olympic spirit . http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=823&issue=135
  2. ^ Silent Gesture - Autobiography of Tommie Smith (excerpt via Google Books) - Smith, Tommie & Steele, David, Temple University Press, 2007, ISBN 159213639
  3. ^ Zirin, Dave: Resistance: the best Olympic spirit . http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=823&issue=135
  4. ^ Zirin, Dave: Resistance: the best Olympic spirit . http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=823&issue=135