Olympic medalist encourages students to 'strive for the best'

Olympic medalist John Carlos, left, and sportswriter Dave Zirin.
Olympic medalist John Carlos, left, and sportswriter Dave Zirin.

John Carlos, the 200-meter bronze medal winner known for raising his fist toward the sky on the platform at the 1968 Summer Olympics, was part of a presentation that kicked off Black History Month at Grand Valley on February 2.

Carlos discussed his experiences as an African-American athlete and Olympic winner and his Black power salute that caused his suspension from the U.S. team and Olympic Village. National sportswriter Dave Zirin, host of the radio show “Edge of Sports” and sports editor for The Nation magazine, interviewed Carlos on stage about his childhood, working with Malcolm X and meeting Martin Luther King Jr.

“Always strive for a better future,” Carlos said. “I want young individuals to go out there with their own estimations about what’s right and what’s wrong and remember that everyone has a voice.”

Carlos and Zirin discussed their recently published book, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Movement That Changed the World and showed a segment from Zirin’s documentary film, “Not Just a Game: Politics and Power in American Sports, which will be shown in its entirety on Wednesday, February 8, at 9 p.m. in the Big Screen Theater of the Kirkhof Center.

The event marked the university’s first “Intersections” program, which is a series of events hosted by Grand Valley’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Women’s Center and LGBT Resource Center. The series provides opportunities for the campus community to look at the world through multiple dimensions including race, gender, sexual orientation, and class status among others.

Click here for a schedule of Black History Month events.


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