Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett won the Gold and Silver medals (respectively) at the 1972 Munich Olympics
in the 400 m dash
. A small controversy
erupted over their behavior at the medal presentation, a controversy that would soon be eclipsed by more horrifying events.
Matthews and Collett were both black. US Olympic officials were watching them intently, looking for any sign they would repeat the "black power
" protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos
at the 1968 Mexico City
games. Matthews and Collett did, on the stand, register a protest regarding American civil rights, albeit one that wasn't as overt as Smith and Carlos. During the American anthem
they refused to stand at attention. They chatting with each other and shuffled around a bit. Their lack of attention and unwillingness to stand silent during the national anthem drew the ire
of the crowd. The crowd began to boo and jeer. Upon stepping off the award stands, Collett shot the crowd a mock black power fist.
The US Olympic Committee's reaction was swift and harsh. They were thrown off the track team and banned from competition for life.
Vince Matthews fate is unknown by this researcher. Collett himself went on to get a law degree. He eventually went into the real estate business. Although he fell into dishonor with the US Olympic committee UCLA
recognized his contributions to amateur athletics and inducted him into the UCLA sports hall of fame in 1972.