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Sport Olympic gold medalist and human rights activist Lee Evans dies at 74

08:25  20 may  2021
08:25  20 may  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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USA Track and Field announced Lee Evans , a former world record holder and gold medalist sprinter, died on Wednesday. He was 74 years old. His cause of death has not been announced. Evans suffered a stroke last week in Nigeria and was unconscious in a hospital as of Sunday, according to Evans was also a humans rights activist who, along with other U.S. sprinters like Tommie Smith and John Carlos, considered boycotting the 1968 Olympics to protest racial injustice in America. Lee and Smith were subjected to death threats as a result. The three San Jose State runners were nicknamed

Lee Evans , the 1968 Olympic 400m champion and human rights activist , has died at age 74 , according to USA Track and Field. Evans suffered a stroke last week in Nigeria and was unconscious in a hospital there as of Sunday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Evans was a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and one of the athletes to fight for racial justice before and during those Games. He wanted to withdraw from the 400m final after Smith and Carlos were kicked out of the Olympics after raising black-gloved firsts on the medal stand.

Lee Evans, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and human rights activist, died Wednesday, U.S. Track and Field announced. He was 74.

Lee Evans' 400-meter world record stood for nearly 20 years. (Photo by Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Lee Evans' 400-meter world record stood for nearly 20 years. (Photo by Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

A Fresno, Calif. native, Evans starred in track at San Jose State alongside future Olympic teammate Tommie Smith, winning the NCAA championship in 1968. He set multiple world records in the run-up to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, but saved his best performance for the sports' biggest stage.

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LAGOS, Nigeria — Lee Evans , the record-setting sprinter who wore a black beret in a sign of protest at the 1968 Olympics , died Wednesday. He was 74 . USA Track and Field confirmed Evans ’ death. The San Jose Mercury News reported that Evans ’ family had started a fundraiser in hopes of bringing He was also a high-profile member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights , which called attention to racial inequality and oppression and spearheaded the protests at the 1968 games. “His legacy of contributions to sports and the struggle for social justice is indelible and enduring,” tweeted Harry

Gold medal winner: Lee Evans (centre) crosses the finish line of the Men's 400m final at the 1968 Mexico Olympics - EPU/AFP/File. Lee Evans , the 1968 Olympic 400m champion and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights , has died at the age of 74 , USA Track and Field said Wednesday. The USATF did not give a cause of death, but the San Jose Mercury News reported that Evans suffered a stroke last week in Nigeria and had remained unconscious in hospital there.

Evans' mark of 43.86 seconds in the 400-meter dash shattered his own world record of 44.06 seconds, and stood as the record for nearly 20 years:

The medal ceremony for the race was impactful as well, as the all-African American podium of Evans, Larry James and Ron Freeman donned black berets in a nod to the Black Panther Party.

Evans' activism dated back to San Jose State, where he and Smith were among the leaders of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. After calling for a boycott of the Olympics, the OPHR's badges could be seen on the jackets of Smith and John Carlos as they famously made a Black Power salute during the medal ceremony of the 200-meter race.

Evans' own protest was largely overshadowed by Smith's and Carlos' salute, but his influence as an activist athlete was considerable.

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Evans was 74 . Friends said Evans died Wednesday while in a coma and breathing through a ventilator. Evans ’ children were in the process of trying to bring the Olympian home for further medical care. The demonstration was overshadowed in history by fellow San Jose State runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos who raised black-fisted gloves during the medal ceremony for the 200 meters. Davis said Evans worked behind the scenes to promote human rights and social justice around the world.

Gold medal winner: Lee Evans (centre) crosses the finish line of the Men's 400m final at the 1968 Mexico Olympics . Los Angeles (AFP) - Lee Evans , the 1968 Olympic 400m champion and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights , has died at the age of 74 , USA Track and Field said Wednesday. The USATF did not give a cause of death, but the San Jose Mercury News reported that Evans suffered a stroke last week in Nigeria and had remained unconscious in hospital there.

From SJSU:

According to Dr. Harry Edwards, the founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and San José State graduate, "Lee Evans was one of the greatest athletes and social justice advocates in an era that produced a generation of such courageous, committed, and contributing athlete-activists.

"He was an originating founder and advocate of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and what evolved in the late 1960's into an all-out revolt among Black athletes over issues of injustice and inequality both within and beyond the sports arena. In no small measure, today's athletes can stand taller, see farther and more clearly, and reach higher in pursuit of achievement and change in both sport and society because they stand on the shoulders of GIANTS such as Lee Evans."

Evans reportedly received death threats from the NRA and Ku Klux Klan during his time in Mexico City, but never stopped speaking out. A Fulbright Scholar in sociology, Evans received the Nelson Mandela Award for humanitarianism in 1983.

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Lee Evans , the record-setting sprinter who wore a black beret in a sign of protest at the 1968 Olympics , died Wednesday. He was 74 . USA Track and Field confirmed Evans ' death. The San Jose Mercury News reported that Evans ' family had started a fundraiser in hopes of bringing him back to He was also a high-profile member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights , which called attention to racial inequality and oppression and spearheaded the protests at the 1968 games. "His legacy of contributions to sports and the struggle for social justice is indelible and enduring," tweeted Harry

Olympic gold medalist , world record holder, USATF Hall of Famer and human rights activist Lee Evans died Wednesday at age 74 . Evans , who was born Feb. 25, 1947, in Madera, California, gained the national spotlight as part of San Jose State's legendary sprint program, after a storied career at Overfelt High School. Evans also played a key role on the U.S. gold medal -winning 4x400m relay that set a world record of 2:56.16 that stood for more than 24 years. Evans was a leading member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights , an organization that called attention to racial inequality and

After his track career, SJSU said Evans spent much of his life in Africa as a track and field coach, leading the national teams of Qatar, Cameroon and Nigeria. He was also said to be involved in the Madagascar Project, which aimed to provide water and power, create economic self-sufficiency through agriculture and improve access to medical care.

Evans was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1989 and the U.S.A. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1993.

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