Lee Evans, the record holder who wore a black beret in protest against the 1968 Olympics, he died on Wednesday at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilishan-Remo. Evans was 74 before the incidence
American athletics confirms Evans’ death. The San Jose Mercury News reports that Evans’ family is raising funds to raise funds in hopes of bringing him back to the US from Nigeria, where he coached track and field, last week for medical treatment after a stroke.
Evans became the first person to break 44 seconds in the 400 meters and win a gold medal at the Mexico City Games with a time of 43.86. His victory came shortly after team-mates Tommy Smith and John Carlos were sent home from the Olympics to lift their fists on the medal stand.
In a later interview, Evans said an employee warned him not to do anything like that. Evans took a different approach and wore a black beret to show support for the Black Panther Party and other civil rights organizations.
Like Smith and Carlos, He was a college star on the San Jose Speed City team. Evans was also a senior member of the Olympic Human Rights Project, which raised awareness of racial inequality and oppression, and led protests during the 1968 Olympics.
“His legacy of contributing to sport and fighting for social justice is indelible and enduring,” tweeted Harry Edwards, the movement’s architect.
After 43.86, Evans anchored the American team 4x400m with a world record of 2 minutes and 56.16 seconds. The 400 meter record is almost 20 years. The relay record is 24.
Evans has won five American 400 meter titles and is a member of the USATF and the US Hall of Fame.
After Evans quit competing, he spent enough time in Africa to work for the United Nations and also to train the national teams in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The press says he was currently coaching high school track in Lagos before the stroke.