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Espys’ Arthur Ashe Award Lauds Mexico City Protesters Smith, Carlos

May 29, 2008  •  Post A Comment

ESPN’s 2008 Espy Awards, honoring achievements in athletics over the past year, will present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to 1968 Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The iconic duo raised their black-gloved fists and bowed their heads during their awards presentation at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, in recognition of the fight for racial equality.
“Four decades after a moment etched forever in sports history … issues of race and social inequality remain an integral part of our daily discourse, enveloping both sports and politics,” said Maura Mandt, executive producer of the 2008 Espy Awards. “The protests swirling around the Beijing Olympics, and athletes being asked to sign waivers stating that they will refrain from demonstrations, reinforce the importance and relevance of this story.”
The Courage Award is named after tennis player and civil rights figure Arthur Ashe, the first African-American man to win the U.S. Open in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975.
“I stand proud to receive this award, just as I stood proud on that victory stand 40 years ago,” Mr. Smith said. “I stood for human and civil rights then, issues that today are just as important.”
This year’s Espy Awards will be held July 16 and broadcast on ESPN/ESPN HD on July 20 at 9 p.m. Justin Timberlake will serve as host.

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