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USATF honors 1968 U.S. Olympic team with Night of Legends ceremony, 50th anniversary celebration


INDIANAPOLIS -- USA Track & Field (USATF) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Track & Field team with its 1968-2018: Celebrating Athletic Achievement and Courage campaign, USATF announced today.


Throughout the remainder of the year, USATF will honor the members of what is largely considered the greatest track & field team in history, including Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Wyomia Tyus, Madeline Manning Mims, Randy Matson and more. Athlete appearances at select high-profile events will combine with social media promotion, storytelling and videography. The year will culminate in the Night of Legends celebration during the USATF Annual Meeting this December in Columbus, Ohio, a special reunion of 1968 team members and current USATF stars.


“The legacy of the greatest track & field team to ever be assembled is still felt 50 years later,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “These Olympians persevered through athletic challenges and social injustices, maintaining their composure and dignity when others may have fallen. It is USATF’s honor to pay homage to their achievements and bring the team together for an epic celebration at our Annual Meeting.”  


USATF will officially kick off Celebrate 1968 this week. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #Celebrate68 to tell the world how the 1968 Olympians inspire them today. USATF also will sell limited edition shirts, with a portion of the proceeds supporting youth programming.


1968 U.S. Olympic Team - Track & Field: Fun Facts


Team USA set eight world records at the 1968 Olympic Games (Men’s 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m, long jump and women’s 100m and 4x100m).


Wyomia Tyus ran a world record 100m in Mexico City to become the first to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the event.


Bob Beamon still holds the longest-standing Olympic record - his 8.90m/29-2.5 long jump has yet to be broken 50 years later.


High jump pioneer Dick Fosbury debuted his revolutionary “Fosbury Flop” at the 1968 Olympic Games, earning gold for Team USA and solidifying his legacy in the sport.


Two members of the 1968 Olympic team were picked up in the 1968 NFL draft - Jim Hines and Ed Caruthers. Hines, who broke two world records in Mexico City (100m and 4x100m relay), went on to play for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. Ed Caruthers, who won silver in the men’s high jump, was chosen by the Detroit Lions as a wide receiver.


Al Oerter won his fourth consecutive Olympic title in the discus to become the first track & field athlete to accomplish the feat in one event.


Madeline Manning Mims was the first African-American woman to compete in the 800m and remains the only American woman to have won gold in the event.


Thirty-five percent of the 1968 Olympic team have been inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame (33 out of 93 athletes), the most from any in history.


Follow USATF and #Celebrate68 on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to learn more about Celebrating 1968 activations at upcoming national championships and events.




USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country's No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit


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