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Riz Khan
Politics of Sport
Olympic gold medal winner Tommie Smith talks about his famous Black Power salute.
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2007 14:22 GMT

Tommie Smith, centre, gave a Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games

Anand Naidoo sits in for Riz Khan this week.

We like to think of sports as a celebration of human achievement, but in reality, politics plays a huge role in the sports arena and in the lives of athletes.

Muhammad Ali spoke out for the Black Muslim movement and refused to fight in Vietnam, and was sentenced to prison and stripped of his heavyweight title.

When American football player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, the Pentagon suppressed the fact that he was killed in a friendly fire incident to protect the image of US armed forces. And this summer the Iraqi national football team became a symbol of cooperation and optimism for their ravaged country after winning the Asia Cup.

On Monday, we speak with Tommie Smith, who won the 1968 Olympic gold medal in the 200-metre dash. He was stripped of his medal and kicked out of the US Olympic Village when he gave a Black Power salute while receiving his medal. He recently published his autobiography, Silent Gesture.

We are also joined by veteran sports writer David Zirin, the author of Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports.

Watch this episode of Riz Khan here:

Watch this episode of Riz Khan Street Talk here:

This episode of Riz Khan aired on 20 August 2007

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