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Fourth Annual Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet to Be Held July 30 and 31

Tuesday July 21, 2009

Louisvilleā€™s fourth annual Tommie Smith Youth Track and Field Meet will be held Thursday and Friday July 30 and 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day at Moore Traditional School located at 6415 Outer Loop.

More than 600 children ages five to twelve will participate and each participant will receive a medal. Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith will be on hand all day July 31. Events will include the 50 and 100 yard dash, the javelin throw, the shot-put, discus, long jump, broad jump and an obstacle course.

The Tommie Smith Youth Track and Field meet is part of the larger Tommie Smith Youth Initiative in Louisville. The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the YMCA of Greater Louisville, Metro Parks and Jefferson County Public Schools are working in partnership to decrease the factors for childhood obesity and lack of physical activity among elementary school-age children. The initiative includes instruction on nutrition and physical fitness.

Tommie Smith is the only man in the history of track and field to hold 11 world records simultaneously. He won the gold medal in the 200 meters at the 1968 Olympic Games. Smith gained worldwide prominence when he and teammate, bronze-medal winner John Carlos, raised gloved fists during the medal ceremony to protest racial discrimination in America. The photo of this nonviolent demonstration became one of the iconic images of the 1960s and 70s. In 2008 ESPN named Tommie Smith and teammate John Carlos winners of the Espy Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

After a successful career in the National Football League and as a college instructor and track coach, Tommie Smith went on to organize track initiatives for disadvantaged youth in Oakland Calif. The initiatives have had remarkable success, not only in raising physical fitness levels among participants, but also in raising academic performance. Tommie Smith Youth Initiatives have been established in Louisville, New Orleans and Washington D.C. and are being considered in Jamaica and in Paris, France. The Department of Public Health and Wellness began the Tommie Smith initiative in Louisville in 2006.

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