Olympic Project for Human Rights

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The Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) was an American 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 against racial segregation in the United States and elsewhere (such as South Africa), and racism in sports in general.[1]

Smith said 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 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City unless four conditions were met:

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-metre race. Tommie Smith and John Carlos also raised their hands in a "Black Power salute" during the playing of the United States 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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Resistance: the best Olympic spirit – International Socialism". Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  2. ^ Silent Gesture - Autobiography of Tommie Smith (excerpt via Google Books) - Smith, Tommie & Steele, David, Temple University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-59213-639-1