Monday, April 13, 2009
Speed City - Catch it While You Can
Back in the sixties, long before steroid use and high tech training equipment, before high performance footwear or even adequate nutrition, there were these athletes at San Jose State that were just straight up gifted and talented. Two of these athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, won the gold and bronze medals (respectively) for the 200m at the '68 Olympics in Mexico City. When they took the platform and raised theirs fists to the world, many of us were shocked and awestruck and regarded it as an act of unimaginable self-sacrifice and courage. An exhibit called "Speed City" is now on display in the wing behind the rotunda at San Jose City Hall. The exhibit pays tribute to the talented minority athletes who trained at San Jose State from the early 50's to the late 60's. The photos and artifacts tell a story of remarkable athletic feats and political activism in an atmosphere that did not embrace these athletes or give them the recognition they deserved. I urge you to go see the "Speed City" exhibit on display now. At the end of the exhibit you will see directions on how to walk over to the sculpture (at nearby San Jose State University) which commemorates Tommie Smith's and John Carlos' black power salute.