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Registration Open for Third Annual Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet

Thursday June 5, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (June 5, 2008) The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness is seeking youth ages 5 to 18 to register for the third annual Tommie Smith Track & Field Meet. The meet is an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sanctioned event and will be held Friday, July 11 (throwing events) at University of Louisville, Parkway Field, 350 Warnock St., and Saturday, July 12 (running and jumping events) at Male High School, 4409 Preston.

On-line registration is available. In order to participate, each child must be a member of the AAU.  Membership is $12 and can be paid at registration.  No other fees are required.  Scholarships may be available.  Deadline for registration is Wednesday, July 2.  After July 2 there will be an additional $10 fee for late registration.  Registration will also be available on site the day of the meet. For more information, phone 574-8045 or email Tommie Smith Track Meet.  

First, second and third place medals will be awarded to participants in each event and all participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt. This year approximately 400 youth are expected to participate in the event.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary for Tommie Smith’s win of the Gold

Medal in the 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Smith gained worldwide prominence when he and teammate, bronze medal winner John Carlos, raised gloved fists in a “silent gesture” 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.

Today, Mr. Smith continues to advocate for the health and well being of children. He has organized track and field meets as well track clubs for youth in Oakland, Calif., New Orleans, La. and Paris, France.

In July, ESPN will present the Espy Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Smith and his 1968 teammate, John Carlos, in recognition of the fight for racial equality. The Courage Award is named after tennis player and civil rights figure Arthur Ashe, the first African-American man to win the U.S. Open in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975.

The Tommie Smith Louisville Track & Field Meet is part of an ongoing initiative to fight childhood obesity and to increase physical activity in children.

“Youth track programs can help nurture and empower young people. It’s a great way to get kids moving and physically active,” said Dr. Adewale Troutman, director, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.

The Tommie Smith Youth Track Initiative is an initiative under the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement and the newly created Center for Health Equity. The center was created to eliminate health inequities based on race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

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.