Now that the website is fully up-and-running, and given that I’m not training at the moment, I’m using the opportunity to catch up with writing on the book. I’m doing a bit of background reading about the Mexico City Games, as the high altitude at which the Games were held (2,400m) resulted in the emergence of Kenya as the distance-running superpower that it is today.
The 1968 Games were, however, memorable and significant for a number of other reasons:
- Bob Beamon added 55 centimetres to the Long Jump world record; a record which was only eventually broken in 1991.
- During the 200 metre medal ceremony Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won gold and bronze respectively, raised their black-gloved fists as a symbol of ‘Black Power’. They were later banned from the Games for life as punishment.
- Dick Fosbury won gold in the high jump utilising a technique which became known as the Fosbury flop, and quickly became the dominant technique utilised in the event.
- John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania, infamously finished the marathon, in last place, despite a dislocated knee.
- The 1968 Games was the first to use fully automatic timing, and the first to use a Tartan track. Drug testing also made its first appearance at these Olympics, though these initial searches were primarily for narcotics and stimulants. Having drunk several beers just prior to competition Swedish pentathlete Hans-Gunnar Liljunwall became the first Olympian to be disqualified because of doping.