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05/30/2009

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When 400m champion Lee Evans took off his black beret during the playing of the American national anthem at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico he disappointed hundreds of admirers in the stands and thousands watching on television in the US.

Twenty-four years later basketball megastar Michael Jordan, another African-American hero, would also be criticised for his actions on a victory podium.

Synonymous with sportswear giant Nike, Jordan draped the American flag over the Reebok logo on his official team kit. This was viewed in some quarters as a flagrant expression of the commercialisation of the Olympics.

Evans, on the other hand, was involved in something slightly more profound than the sale of trainers. For him it was the second-class status he and his black team-mates endured back at home.

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