Olympic Project for Human Rights
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.
Smith said that the project was about human rights, of "all humanity, even those who denied us ours." 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 (both countries were under white minority rule at the time).
- The restoration of Muhammad Ali’s world heavyweight boxing title.
- Avery Brundage to step down as president of the IOC.
- Hiring of more African-American assistant coaches.
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.
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