Athletics at the 1968 Summer Olympics – Men's 200 metres

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Men's 200 metres
at the Games of the XIX Olympiad
John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman 1968cr.jpg
The medal award ceremony for the 200 metres. Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) showing the Black Power salute while silver medalist Peter Norman (left) wears an OPHR badge to show his support for the two Americans.
VenueEstadio Olímpico Universitario
Dates15–16 October
Competitors50 from 37 nations
Winning time19.83 WR
1st place, gold medalist(s) Tommie Smith
 United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Peter Norman
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) John Carlos
 United States
← 1964
1972 →

The men's 200 meters event at the 1968 Summer Olympics was held in Mexico City, Mexico. The final was won by Tommie Smith in a time of 19.83, a new world record. However, the race is perhaps best known for what happened during the medal ceremony – the Black Power salute of Smith and bronze medallist John Carlos. The background, consequences, and legacy of the salute carried forward into subsequent Olympics and is perhaps the single most memorable event from these Olympics.

The event started on 15 October and finished on 16 October.[1] There were 50 athletes from 37 nations competing.[2] The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. Smith's win was the second consecutive and 12th overall for the United States. Norman's medal was the second for Australia in the men's 200 metres, after Stan Rowley's bronze 68 years earlier.


This was the 15th appearance of the event, which was not held at the first Olympics in 1896 but has been on the program ever since. Three of the eight finalists from the 1964 Games returned: bronze medalist Edwin Roberts of Trinidad and Tobago, fourth-place finisher Harry Jerome of Canada, and fifth-place finisher (and 1960 gold medalist) Livio Berruti of Italy.

Tommie Smith was the 1967 and 1968 AAU champion; John Carlos was the 1967 Pan American Games and 1968 U.S. Olympic trials winners (with a time that would have been a world record, but was not ratified because his shoes had too many spikes). The two were heavily favored, though had considered boycotting the Olympics to protest racial segregation in the United States.[2]

Barbados, British Honduras (Belize), the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, West Germany, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, Tanzania, and the Virgin Islands each made their debut in the event. The United States made its 15th appearance, the only nation to have competed at each edition of the 200 metres to date.

Competition format[edit]

The competition used the four round format introduced in 1920: heats, quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final. The "fastest loser" system introduced in 1960 was used again in the heats.

There were 7 heats of between 7 and 8 runners each, with the top 4 men in each advancing to the quarterfinals along with the next 4 fastest overall. The quarterfinals consisted of 4 heats of 8 athletes each; the 4 fastest men in each heat advanced to the semifinals. There were 2 semifinals, each with 8 runners. Again, the top 4 athletes advanced. The final had 8 runners. The races were run on a 400 metre track.[2]


Prior to the competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Tommie Smith (USA) 20.0y Sacramento, United States 11 June 1966
Olympic record  Henry Carr (USA) 20.3 Tokyo, Japan 17 October 1964

Tommie Smith's 20.3 / 20.37 in the second heat matched the hand-timed Olympic record. Peter Norman broke that record with a 20.2 / 20.23 in the sixth heat. Smith's time in the third quarterfinal was 20.2 / 20.28, equaling the record. Mike Fray matched the old 20.3 second record in the fourth quarterfinal. In the first semifinal, Norman again ran a 20.2 (/ 20.22) but was behind John Carlos at 20.1 / 20.12 for another new Olympic record. Smith matched Carlos's hand-timing in the second semifinal, with 20.1 / 20.14. Smith then broke the 20-second barrier in the final, recording 19.8 hand-timed and 19.83 auto-timed for a new world record.


All times are Central Standard Time (UTC-6)

Date Time Round
Tuesday, 15 October 1968 10:30
Wednesday, 16 October 1968 15:20



Heat 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Carlos  United States 20.54 Q
2 Andrés Calonge  Argentina 20.81 Q
3 Mani Jegathesan  Malaysia 20.92 Q, NR
4 Livio Berruti  Italy 21.06 Q
5 Valentin Maslakov  Soviet Union 21.07 q
6 Norman Chihota  Tanzania 21.28
7 Canagasabai Kunalan  Singapore 21.39
8 Hadley Hinds  Barbados 22.35

Heat 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tommie Smith  United States 20.37 Q, =OR
2 Charles Asati  Kenya 20.66 Q
3 Jochen Eigenherr  West Germany 20.69 Q
4 Edwin Roberts  Trinidad and Tobago 20.69 Q
5 David Ejoke  Nigeria 21.09 q
6 Edwin Johnson  Bahamas 21.22 q
7 Kun Min-mu  Republic of China 22.44

Heat 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Larry Questad  United States 20.75 Q
2 Julius Sang  Kenya 20.90 Q
3 Edward Romanowski  Poland 20.95 Q
4 Miguel Angel González  Mexico 21.31 Q
5 Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa  Madagascar 21.53
6 Norris Stubbs  Bahamas 21.64
7 Morgan Gesmalla  Sudan 22.70

Heat 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Mike Fray  Jamaica 20.62 Q
2 Winston Short  Trinidad and Tobago 21.00 Q
3 Hansruedi Wiedmer  Switzerland 21.06 Q
4 Bernard Nottage  Bahamas 21.31 Q
5 Philippe Housiaux  Belgium 21.41
6 Porfirio Veras  Dominican Republic 21.53
7 Juan Argüello  Nicaragua 22.80

Heat 5[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Iván Moreno  Chile 20.93 Q
2 Jacques Carette  France 20.97 Q
3 James Addy  Ghana 21.00 Q
4 Fernando Acevedo  Peru 21.02 Q
5 Harry Jerome  Canada 21.22 q
6 William Dralu  Uganda 21.38
7 Colin Thurton  British Honduras 22.14

Heat 6[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Peter Norman  Australia 20.17 Q, OR[3]
2 Roger Bambuck  France 20.61 Q
3 Dick Steane  Great Britain 20.66 Q
4 Rajalingam Gunaratnam  Malaysia 21.58 Q
5 Alberto Torres  Dominican Republic 21.99
6 José Astacio  El Salvador 23.13
Juan Franceschi  Puerto Rico DNF

Heat 7[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Greg Lewis  Australia 20.71 Q
2 Ralph Banthorpe  Great Britain 20.73 Q
3 Nikolay Ivanov  Soviet Union 20.78 Q
4 Pedro Grajales  Colombia 21.07 Q
5 Gert Metz  West Germany 21.24
6 Carl Plaskett  Virgin Islands 21.29
7 Cristóbal Corrales  Honduras 23.93


Quarterfinal 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Carlos  United States 20.69 Q
2 Greg Lewis  Australia 20.81 Q
3 Dick Steane  Great Britain 20.81 Q
4 Mani Jegathesan  Malaysia 21.01 Q
5 Julius Sang  Kenya 21.04
6 Jacques Carette  France 21.15
7 Edwin Johnson  Bahamas 21.41
8 Harry Jerome  Canada 21.43

Quarterfinal 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Peter Norman  Australia 20.44 Q
2 Jochen Eigenherr  West Germany 20.53 Q
3 Fernando Acevedo  Peru 20.78 Q
4 Iván Moreno  Chile 20.83 Q
5 Charles Asati  Kenya 20.84
6 Livio Berruti  Italy 21.01
7 Winston Short  Trinidad and Tobago 21.51
8 Rajalingam Gunaratnam  Malaysia 21.52

Quarterfinal 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tommie Smith  United States 20.28 Q, =OR
2 Edwin Roberts  Trinidad and Tobago 20.50 Q
3 Edward Romanowski  Poland 20.85 Q
4 Nikolay Ivanov  Soviet Union 20.90 Q
5 David Ejoke  Nigeria 20.99
6 Andrés Calonge  Argentina 21.03
7 Hansruedi Wiedmer  Switzerland 21.42
8 Miguel Angel González  Mexico 21.57

Quarterfinal 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Mike Fray  Jamaica 20.39 Q
2 Larry Questad  United States 20.54 Q
3 Roger Bambuck  France 20.63 Q
4 Ralph Banthorpe  Great Britain 20.83 Q
5 James Addy  Ghana 20.90
6 Valentin Maslakov  Soviet Union 20.96
7 Pedro Grajales  Colombia 21.05
8 Bernard Nottage  Bahamas 21.53


Semifinal 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Carlos  United States 20.12 Q, OR
2 Peter Norman  Australia 20.22 Q
3 Mike Fray  Jamaica 20.46 Q
4 Roger Bambuck  France 20.47 Q
5 Iván Moreno  Chile 20.84
6 Dick Steane  Great Britain 20.85
7 Nikolay Ivanov  Soviet Union 20.89
8 Fernando Acevedo  Peru 20.91

Semifinal 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Tommie Smith  United States 20.14 Q, =OR
2 Edwin Roberts  Trinidad and Tobago 20.44 Q
3 Larry Questad  United States 20.48 Q
4 Jochen Eigenherr  West Germany 20.49 Q
5 Greg Lewis  Australia 20.53
6 Edward Romanowski  Poland 20.80
7 Ralph Banthorpe  Great Britain 20.88
8 Mani Jegathesan  Malaysia 21.05


Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1st place, gold medalist(s) Tommie Smith  United States 19.83 WR
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Peter Norman  Australia 20.06 NR
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) John Carlos  United States 20.10
4 Edwin Roberts  Trinidad and Tobago 20.34
5 Roger Bambuck  France 20.51
6 Larry Questad  United States 20.62
7 Mike Fray  Jamaica 20.63
8 Jochen Eigenherr  West Germany 20.66


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Games: Men's 200 metres". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "200 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  3. ^ Frost, Caroline (17 October 2008). "The other man on the podium". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2014.