Evans, Matthews, Coleman, Freeman, Boston and high jumper Otis Burrell all coached in Africa or the Caribbean. "You're simply known overseas," says Coleman, who was Nigerian national athletic director for six years beginning in 1977. "They treat you better. Here, they act in fear of their jobs or something."
No black member of the 1968 Olympic track team has become a head coach at an NCAA Division I university. "It forces a question," says Freeman, who consults with cities and corporations throughout the U.S. and the West Indies on sports and youth programs. "What is the worth of an athlete? Is he important just at his peak, as an example? The Olympic athlete, in a lot of countries, is seen as useful. Why couldn't Lee do a speaking tour, not in Africa, but Harlem or Watts? How many places can you be the best in the world at anything, and not be remembered, not called upon?"
In December 1985, the day before he was to be inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, Bud Winter died of a heart attack. He was 76.
Smith, Carlos and Huey flew from Los Angeles to San Jose for the funeral. "John invited the fashion show in the hotel lounge to come to the funeral with us," Huey says. "We arrived in typical Carlos grand-entrance style—late, which embarrassed Tommie—and John worked the room like he always worked the stands in Europe."
Winter's death hit his athletes unexpectedly hard. Their last respects were tearful. "He gave us the home to do what we had to do," says Huey. "Bud would just show up and you'd start acting right."
The next morning, Smith, "fat and terrifyingly out of shape," in Huey's words, appeared at her door. "O.K., Huey," he said, "let's run."
Smith had started acting right. He vowed to reverse his physical decline. Over the next two years, he worked off 40 pounds. But for a pulled hamstring in training, he would have run the 200 meters in the 1989 World Veterans Games.
Carlos had no college degree to fall back on. "I lived in L.A. after 1972 and fumbled around," he says. He took odd jobs. He was a bouncer in a bar for $65 a week. "People would love me to pick up a gun and rob," he says. "They'd love to say, 'That's what we expected.' But I will not give them the satisfaction. I will not confirm their prejudice."
In 1977 he started the John Carlos Development League to work with underprivileged kids. He became an aide to L.A. City Councilman David Cunningham. "The city wouldn't fund the league because I had a city job, and that was an apparent conflict of interest," Carlos says. "The question became, Stay with a sweet job or work with kids?"
He went with the kids. And suffered some more lean times. Then, later in 1977, his wife, Kim, committed suicide. "It had a lot to do with 1968," he says now. "If you were a woman with ideas of a nice life and you never knew if you were gonna eat or have a roof, and you saw your man having to pass a hat after giving a speech, and heard people inventing salacious lies to undermine your family, you would find it hard to handle. She felt she was in a no-win situation. She just couldn't take it."