In 1968, I was a 22 year old, just getting into promoting and coaching in track & field. We had scheduled an Olympic warm-up Meet in Victoria, BC, Canada, about 3 weeks before the Games, and for some reason, I was sent to the USA Olympic Trials at Echo Summit, to try and recruit some athletes.
After about a 9-hour travel day, I missed the 200 by Carlos, and the Pole Vault WR by Seagren by a matter of minutes.
As far as racism, it was unbelievable. I remember some serious tension, almost becoming violent, over measurements taken at the LJ pit, depending on whether the white guy or the black guy would make the team.
Anyways....the trip was successful - we somehow managed to convince the American Coaches to bring about 20 athletes to Canada to compete, 3 weeks before the Games in Mexico City. To the best of my recollection, only Jay Sylvester, Wade Bell, and Larry Questad were white, and we were told that most of the black sprinters were sent, in order to get them out of the racially-charged atmosphere that existed in the USA at that time.
Carlos ran the 100 and the 200, and beat Olympic silver medallist Lennox Miller of Jamaica in both. Hand times on a new/soft rubber-asphalt track were 10.1 and 20.4
Smith ran the 400, running a very easy 45.4, and then took the baton from Carlos as the USA 'B' team ran down the USA 'A' team, 39.1 to win. Yes, that was the same USA 'A' Team that won the gold medal in Mexico City, with 3 co-World record holders --- Greene, Robinson, and Hines.
There was a lot of controversy about putting Carlos and Smith on the relay teams, and both guys were upset about not being included. I can tell you that Carlos and Smith made up about 4 metres over the last 2 legs on the USA teams that won the gold medal, and no-one was taking it easy, believe me...