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Tommie Smith puts Olympic gold medal up for auction

Tommie Smith is selling the Olympic gold medal he wore during an iconic protest that superceded sports.

smitht.JPGSmith, 66, has put his medal and cherry-red Puma running shoes up for auction at M.I.T. Memorabilia with a starting bid of $250,000. The sale is scheduled to close Nov. 4.

"Part of the reason is for money, but also he feels it is time to share it with the sports-collecting memorabilia public," said Gary Zimet of M.I.T. Memorabilia, which is taking bids on the medal and Smith's red Puma shoes until Nov. 4. Opening bid is $250,000.

Smith, 66, declined to comment to the San Jose Mercury-News on Tuesday, which was the anniversary of his victory in the 200-meter race in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Smith "won't be giving any statements on that," his wife, Delois Jordan-Smith said. Smith, who set a world record in the race, and bronze winner John Carlos bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists in racial protest during the U.S. national anthem and were banned for the gesture. Their protest later received acclaim, but Smith remains bitter and said his post-Olympic treatment was "racist" in his 2007 autobiography ("Silent Gesture") with David Steele.

What's not in the auction is the glove he wore that day.

"With all the moves he's done," Zimet said, "he just lost it."

By Cindy Boren  | October 14, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
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While accepting the gold medal for the 200 meter race at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, Smith and bronze medal winner John Carlos bowed their heads and thrust black-gloved hands in the air as a symbol of Black Power in the U.S. national anthem. Both athletes were banned for their racial protest but later received critical acclaim for their courage. Tommie Smith

Posted by: susan166 | October 14, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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