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THE BEGINNINGS

At 6'3" and 185 pounds, Tommie Smith had the ideal build for a long sprinter, with trademark-accelerations down the stretch that made him one of the most versatile sprinters in history. With all-time bests of 10.1 seconds for 100 meters, 19.83 seconds for 200 meters and 44.5 seconds at 400 meters, Smith still ranks high on the entire world all-time performance lists.

While a student at San Jose State, Smith was coached by Bud Winter. Smith began making waves in winning the national collegiate 220 yard title in 1967 before adding the Amateur Athletic Union furlong crown soon after. He repeated as AAU 200 meter champion in 1968, making the summer U.S. Olympic team for the Mexico City Games. In the 200 meter Olympic final, Smith blazed home in a world's record time of 19.83 seconds -- even while decelerating towards the finish line with fists of triumph held high as he realized a gold medal run into history.

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