200 meter race gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games (top). In those racially charged times their iconic gesture was widely condemned as improperly political in the supposedly non-political Olympics setting; the two were banned from the Olympics afterward and kicked out of the Olympic Village in Mexico City. Ultimately they have been honored as symbols of the civil rights movement; they’re pictured (bottom) with the statue reproducing their classic moment on the campus of their alma mater, San Jose State University, at its unveiling in 2004.
Oh, and the third person on that podium is Australian silver medalist Peter Norman, who stood in solidarity with Smith and Carlos, wearing the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. They helped carry his coffin at his 2006 funeral; “You guys have lost a great soldier,” said Carlos in his eulogy, “Tell your kids about Peter Norman.”
Heroes, all three.