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I want to congratulate Vince Matthews on being inducted to the USATF Hall of fame.
I wrote about the Munich incident last February in Black History month because most people remembered Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ demonstration in 1968.
If you haven’t read his biography My race be won by Vince Matthews, I highly recommend it.
I’ll let the readers decide if they are offended by their actions on the podium during the National Anthem (see video below). Offended, as in not being properly dressed, not standing to attention, talking and fidgeting the whole time, and having two people on the top podium at the same time. Some people think you should not mix sports and politics.
There’s an expression… you can’t judge a man until you‘ve walked a mile in his shoes. In this case it’s 400 meters! The last 1960’s and early 70’s were very difficult times in America, and I hope we’ve improved over the last 40 years.
Here is the snippet from the press conference.
Vince Matthews (Two-time Olympic gold medalist)
On what being inducted to the Hall of Fame means:
“It means a lot to me. A few of the guys that I ran with have been inducted like Larry James and Lee Evans. I have been looking forward to putting my name alongside theirs.
Were you surprised to be elected?
“For me it came as a surprise. To tell the truth, I really wanted it. I had kind of given up on the thought that it was going to come my way. I’m a little nervous about it. I would rather be on the starting line. I’m nervous about going in. There are a lot of people that came before me. I’m just nervous about joining.
On the Civil Rights movement during his competition and its influences on track and field:
“It was a big part. I hate to sound too corny, but it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. That’s the way it was. Back then our big thing was beating the Soviet Union. For some reason that was a big deal. We were able to get up and be sure we had more athletes than the Soviet Union. It was our own from cold war. We also had the whole Civil Rights movement going. We got caught up in that movement. But through it all I loved being a quarter-miler.
On setting the world record but it being disallowed because of using brush spikes:
“During that time we competed at Trials in Lake Tahoe and the competition was fierce. There were four guys who easily could have set the world record. Puma had come out with this type of a shoe. They had a needle-point look to them and I wore them. I don’t know how much more traction I got. There was nothing I could do. I felt good when I thought I had the world record. I don’t think it would have been slower than a 44-something. All I could do was get ready for the race the next week. It’s a whole different world now. I don’t remember anyone saying we couldn’t run with the brush spikes. It was a good looking shoe. It had that allure look. It just felt good. It was just the draw.”
Here is the video on YouTube.
UPDATE: Sorry, the video is no longer on YouTube.