43: Wyomia Tyus takes no prisoners; socialism is coming to the USA

February 22, 2019

In this episode, we talk to three-time gold medalist Wyomia Tyus about her memoir Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story. We are also joined by her co-author, Elizabeth Terzakis. In our intro, we discuss Trump’s State of the Union address, why he finds socialism so threatening, and what we can do to make his worst nightmares come true.

In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first athlete — man or woman — to win gold medals in 100-meter events at consecutive Olympics, a record that stood for two decades. She wore non-uniform black shorts as part of a series of protests at that year’s Olympics. These protests were most famously symbolized by John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Wyomia dedicated her medals to them, but as a Black woman both her protest and her breakthrough accomplishment remained in the shadows for years.

We talk to Wyomia about her childhood growing up as a Black girl in the segregated deep South during the early days of the civil rights movement. She talks to us about her coach, Ed Temple, and the legendary Tigerbelles of Tennessee State. We discuss the protest organizing around the 1968 Olympics, her role in it, and why it could have been stronger if the women athletes had been involved in the organizing from the beginning. And at the end, Wyomia shares her thoughts on Black women in sports today and how far we’ve come — but also where we need to go.

Links for this episode:

You can get a copy of Wyomia’s memoir from Akashic Books (http://bit.ly/Tigerbelle)

Listen to Wyomia Tyus, John Carlos and Dave Zirin talk about sports and resistance from 1968-2018 at the 2018 Socialism Conference (http://bit.ly/WyomiaS18)

ESPN did a fantastic profile of Wyomia and her new memoir (http://bit.ly/WyomiaESPN)

Audio for this episode:
The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes”(Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Archie Bell and the Drells, “The Tighten Up”
James Brown, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”
Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, “Black Pearl”
The Isley Brothers, “It’s Your Thing”