Lee Evans, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Who Protests Racism at ’68 Mexico Ciy Games, Dies at 74

United States runners Larry James, left, Lee Evans, center, and Ron Freeman are shown after receiving their medals for the 400-meter race at the Mexico City Games in Mexico City in this Oct. 18, 1968 photo. (AP)

Lee Evans, who won two gold medals at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City and was part of the Black protests against perceived US racism, died on Wednesday. He was 74 and no cause of death was revealed by the USA Track and Field organization, which did not provide further details.

But the San Jose Mercury News in Evans’s hometown quoted friends as saying that he died in a hospital in Nigeria after suffering a stroke. Evans allegedly collapsed at a friend’s dinner party last week, according to the news outlet.

Evans joined several other athletes in raising fists and wearing black berets on the winners stand at Mexico City, considered a shocking political move at the time. Evans’s protest followed that of both American 200-meter sprint medalists, Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze), who raised fists in the air while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played and American flags were raised.

SOURCE: Deadline, Bruce Haring