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U.S. Olympic Committee

Smith, Carlos set fear aside as they raised their fists

Tommie Smith and John Carlos insist fear was not a factor in their thinking when they reached the medals stand at the Mexico City Olympics.

The sprinters, discussing their black-gloved protest at the 1968 Games, said the threats they had received in the lead-up to the Olympics, to say nothing of what they'd experienced growing up in segregated America, left them numb to the possibility of something else happening when they raised their fists after finishing first and third in the 200 meters on Oct. 16, 1968.

"My thoughts were, once you make the statement, whether you live or die, they can never take the statement away," Carlos said.

Smith and Carlos were...