800-meter Olympic champ Mims remains pioneer 50 years later

The moment felt surreal for Olympic gold medalist Madeline Manning Mims, 800 meters, while she was on a track in North Carolina during the summer and performed a perfect rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner".

so much more were those who listened in the crowd: their closest friends, John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

Fifty years ago, Mims posed proudly on the highest step of the Mexico City Games, immersing himself in a national anthem played in his honor. . She was the first black woman, and still the only American woman, to claim the title of Olympic 800. It was three days after Carlos and Smith took one of the most iconic poses in Olympic history: they raised their fists with black gloves on the medal during the national anthem of October 16, 1968 to protest the social injustices of the United States.

To avoid raising a fist on the podium, he just waved his right hand at an audience that encouraged him. However, the veteran sports chaplain has been fighting for people his way since he returned home from those historic games in Mexico City.

"It's interesting to be in this stage of my life, where I now have the opportunity." Look back and realize why I am where I am, "said Mims, who was known as Manning at the time. a time when I see that everything fits together, like a puzzle and now I see the image and I realize the purpose with which I was born. "

To help others.

The 70 years old Mims has been in all the Summer Olympics, except in the Moscow Games boycotted, since the '68. That includes three Olympics as an athlete, he was also part of the 4×400 relay team that captured the silver in the & # 39; one behind the scenes as a motivational speaker (& # 39; 84) and the rest as a sports chaplain, lending a spiritual ear to any athlete who needs it.

She helped athletes use their platforms to train people in the community for decades, and founded the United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy (USCSC) in 2003.

"I saw a platform to play a role in the lives of other athletes," he said. "Just be here with the message you need in your life."

As a gospel singer, Mims performed at the USATF Hershey Junior Olympic National Championships in July. Afterwards, he dined with Carlos and Smith, along with other members of the '68 Olympic team.

The stories flowed.

The Olympic victory in Mims should have been great news. It was and it was not. The protest of Carlos and Smith eclipsed many lines of history.

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