LOS ANGELES — The LA84 Foundation announced today that its annual Summit at JW Marriott LA LIVE on Thursday, Oct. 18, themed “Athlete Activism + Social Justice: Taking Action for Our Youth,” will feature a panel discussion on the legacy of the 1968 Olympic Games and their impact today including a short portion of NBC Olympics’ documentary 1968, which premiered in February during NBC Olympics’ coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Panelists include Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl Winning Coach and NBC Football Night in America Studio Analyst, Tony Dungy, Olympic bronze medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis and Davis Cup Champion James Blake, with NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico as moderator. The panel discussion will be filmed by NBC Olympics and combined with the 1968 documentary to produce a two-hour program that will premiere on NBCSN on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Fifty years ago, this October, three men stood in solidarity on a medal stand at the 1968 Olympic Games. This wasn’t the first time in history that athletics and activism intertwined – but the silent protest, heard around the world, by John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Peter Norman is among the most iconic, enduring, and galvanizing.
“The stand for justice that those three sprinters made that famous day at the 1968 Olympic Games has turned into a multigenerational relay of change and continues to inspire us to use our platform to inspire social change in our work to close the play equity gap and provide opportunities for all kids to play,” said Renata Simril, LA84 Foundation President & CEO.
“Every athlete who seeks to make their voice heard beyond the field of play today is part of the legacy of the Mexico City Olympics,” said Jim Bell, President, Production & Programming, NBC Olympics. “We’re grateful to the LA84 Foundation for the chance to take part in the continuing and important discussion about the intersection of civil rights, sports, and politics.”
The seventh annual LA84 Foundation Summit also features speakers from across the country discussing topics such as athletes as health activists; how to ensure sports are safe for kids; and P.E. is a social justice issue. Other speakers include Sal Masekela (emcee), Jordyn Wieber, Cari Champion, Marcellus Wiley, Metta World Peace and Chris Borland. The Summit is sponsored in part by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Delta (Official Airline of the LA84 Foundation Summit), Fox Sports West, Los Angeles Times, Clear Channel Outdoor, The Foundation for Global Sports Development, Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling and the University of Southern California.
Fifty years since the Olympic Games in Mexico City, NBC Olympics brings viewers back to that tumultuous and politically-charged year with its 90-minute documentary entitled 1968. Four-time Olympic gold medalist and 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams narrates the film.
1968 was a transformative year in the U.S. and throughout the world. It was the deadliest year of the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Soviet troops crushed the Prague Spring. Protest movements raged in North America and Europe. In Mexico City, protests turned violent when government troops opened fire on demonstrators just 10 days before the Games.
Amidst that backdrop, the Mexico City Games became a stage for the collision of sport and politics. On the podium for the 200-meter medal ceremony, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised gloved fists in a statement against racial discrimination. While the iconic image of their silent gesture is universally celebrated half a century later, at the time, Smith and Carlos were dismissed from the team and sent home from Mexico City.
American athletes were not the only ones protesting in Mexico City. 1968 also tells the story of Czechoslovakian gymnast Vera Caslavska, who protested the Soviet invasion of her country by looking away as the Soviet national anthem played during her medal ceremonies. Like Smith and Carlos, Caslavska also faced criticism for speaking out, and struggled for years in the aftermath.
The Mexico City Games were also memorable for thrilling competition and remarkable performances. The U.S. Team topped the medal table, led by the greatest team in track and field history. Dick Fosbury changed the high jump forever with his revolutionary “Fosbury Flop,” and Bob Beamon broke the world record in the long jump by nearly two feet.
1968 also features interviews with NBA icon and cultural ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who protested the 1968 Games; heavyweight champion George Foreman, who took home a gold medal at the Games; civil rights activist Harry Edwards, who led the Olympic Project for Human Rights; as well as Emmy Award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw.
The 2018 LA84 Summit is on October 18th. Register today: bit.ly/2vx3IaW