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Second Annual Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet August 10 and 11

Friday August 3, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (August 3, 2007) Louisville’s second annual Tommie Smith Youth Track & Field Meet will be held Friday, August 10 from 3 to 6  p.m. at the University of Louisville Parkway Field, 350 Warnock Street and on Saturday, August 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Louisville Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park, 2200 S. Floyd Street. Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith will be on hand.

The Track & Field meet is open to children ages 5 to 18 of all ability levels. Participants may register at www.louisvilleky.gov/Health or phone 574-8045 for details.

Last year more than 300 hundred children participated in the event. The Tommie Smith Youth Track & Field meet is part of the larger Tommie Smith Youth Initiative in Louisville.  The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools are working in partnership to decrease the factors for childhood obesity among elementary-school-age children. The initiative, which is a signature program of the city’s Center for Health Equity, includes instruction on nutrition and physical fitness, as well as an assessment of the various environmental health factors impacting the children and their families.

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 1960’s and 70’s.

After a successful career in the National Football League and as a college instructor and track coach, Tommie Smith went on to organize track clubs for disadvantaged youth in Oakland, Calif. The clubs have had remarkable success, not only in raising physical fitness levels among participants, but also in raising academic performance. The Department of Public Health and Wellness is replicating this initiative in Louisville.

The mission of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness is to protect, preserve and promote the health, environment and well-being of the people of Louisville. To learn more about the Health Department’s programs and services go to www.louisvilleky.gov/health.