New Wheaties box honors Olympian Tommie Smith who stood in silent protest in 1968

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Ronnie Koenig
·2 min read
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Tommie Smith, an Olympic gold medal-winning track and field runner know for his work as an activist for racial equality, will be featured on a limited-edition Wheaties box. Smith famously held up a black gloved fist on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics when, at age 24, he won the 200 meter sprint in Mexico City.

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In a press release from General Mills, Smith said that it had long been his dream to appear on the front of the cereal box known for featuring champions.

“As a world champion, I always wanted to be on a Wheaties box,” Smith said. “To now be recognized by Wheaties and selected to grace the cover of their box, in the class with other great champion athletes, is an honor.”

Smith became the first man to break 20 seconds in the 200-meter, crossing the finish line triumphantly with his hands in the air.

In the documentary film "With Drawn Arms," artist and director Glenn Kaino explores what became one of the most iconic images of protest when Smith used the spotlight to raise a fist in silent protest for racial justice. Although controversial at the time, Smith's salute has made him a pioneer for equality, inspired countless other athletes and helped give a concrete image to the racial equality movement which continues today. In an emotional moment of the movie, the "Breakfast of Champions" box is revealed to Smith for the first time.

"While Tommie was a world champion runner, his work as one of the original activist athletes laid the foundation for champions to use their platform and stand for something extraordinary,” said Taylor Gessell, brand experience manager for Wheaties in the press release. “We are proud to honor this true champion and trailblazer with this special commemorative Wheaties box.”

The limited-edition Tommie Smith Wheaties box will be available in April and can be pre-ordered now. Pre-ordered cereal boxes will be shipped in April and sales of the box will go to the NAACP.