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Third Annual Louisville Tommie Smith Youth Track Meet to Be Held Friday and Saturday

Wednesday July 9, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (July 9, 2008) Louisville’s third annual Tommie Smith Youth Track and Field Meet will be held Friday July 11(throwing events only) from 3 to 6 p.m. at the University of Louisville Parkway Field, 350 Warnock St., and on Saturday July 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Male High School located at 4409 Preston. Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith will be on hand both days and will be available for interviews on Friday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m.

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 and 500 are expected this year. 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, a 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.

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the “silent gesture” – that historic moment at the 1968 Summer Olympics when gold medal winner Tommie Smith and bronze medal winner John Carlos raised gloved fists, courageously and non-violently protesting racial discrimination in America. Earlier this month, ESPN named Tommie Smith and teammate John Carlos winners of the 2008 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 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. Besides Louisville, Tommie Smith Youth Clubs and Meets are held in Paris France and in New Orleans.

The mission of the Department of Public Health and Wellness is to protect, preserve and promote the health, environment and well-being of the people of Louisville.