Olympian Lee Evans passes away

The Olympian, who protested racism and raised his fist during a medal ceremony in 1968, passed away in Nigeria.

  /  05.25.2021

Lee Evans, a Black Olympian who raised his fist on a medal stand in 1968, passed away in a Nigerian hospital, NBC Sports reported. He was 74 years old.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the athlete collapsed was having dinner with a few friends when he suffered from a stroke that rendered him unconscious. With the help of former Nigerian soccer player and close friend Segun Odegbami, who paid for all of his medical treatment, he was admitted to the best hospital in the area.

Days later, he was said to be breathing through a ventilator; he was also expected to see neurologists who would help determine why he was still in a coma.

After attempting to treat him, physicians were unable to do much other than keep him comfortable. He eventually passed away.

Per, Odegbami, Evans had blood clots in his brain. He underwent surgery in 2011 to remove a large tumor in the pituitary gland area of his brain.

Evans was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Following his victory at the Mexico City Games in 1968, he became the first person to beat 44 seconds in the 400-meter race and later helped the U.S. team break a world record of two minutes and 56.16 seconds — both records that lasted for nearly 20 years.

After teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked out of the Olympics for raising their black-fisted gloves, he and his fellow winners disregarded officials’ warnings not to do the same, and honored them and the Black Panther Party by wearing a beret, and raising his fist alongside his fellow winners during their medal ceremony.

Evans later became a track and cross-country coach at the University of South Alabama before moving to Africa where he coached the track team at Odegbami’s International College Academy as well other African teams. He also worked for the United Nations in Africa.

Since before his passing, the Olympian’s daughter Menjanahary Evans started a GoFundMe to raise $500,000 to transport her father to the United States. “This is overwhelming for all of us, and we just want him here to be with his family and friends,” she penned in the description of the fundraiser.

REVOLT sends our condolences to Evans’ family.



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