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Hines was with the Dolphins, the Chiefs and the Raiders for five seasons. ("An achievement," says Olympic teammate Leon Coleman, "considering that our nickname for him was Oops.") Hines directed the social-services program of the city of Austin, Texas, for 11 years. In 1985 he returned to his childhood hometown of Oakland.
It seems to grind at Hines that he always did the right thing, took the pressure, ran and won without controversy, and yet made little impression on people. "In 23 years, I've done maybe a thousand speaking engagements," he says. "And after each, I've had the question: 'Were you one of the ones...? The ones who...?" Hines lifts his arm. "I guess that's forever. Yet Tom and John will always remain my friends." He thinks of how they were back then, at the pinnacle. "Maybe they just felt their grudge more deeply."
Larry James returned to Villanova with some of his heroes deflated because they had gone more for the gold than the goal. But he found that Mexico's events had excited people. "Pictures of us wearing the black tarns, with the fists, appeared in Black Panther newspapers," James recalls. "And in the main media, we'd won for our country. We had something for everybody. We were agents of change, but ones made so, and we were so unprepared. We were suddenly expert on everything, man, on toothpaste. You get caught up in it, the love affair the public has with athletes. You learn how it embraces you, and then you learn how it tires of you."
James lost his bearings. "The old Larry James, the naive sophomore of '68," he says, "was determined to be a college grad with a gold medal, a new job on Wall Street and a secretary. But after Mexico I wasn't like that anymore. I really withdrew. People had to figure me out anew."
For a year, he was angry. "You got shell-shocked," he says. "You got tagged with '68, and you had to explain who you were and what you'd done without dishonoring the others. It wasn't until years later that I was able to have a verbal comeback when people started to impose on me their ideas about what I should have done. The whole leadership thing waned for me. The Villanova team suffered from it. I started to question everything.
"I remember in '69, [Villanova coach] Jumbo Elliott said I was to race in New York and Boston indoor meets back-to-back on one weekend. I said no. I did one meet, New York. And I got a letter from someone in Boston saying, 'You have the audacity not to run a double.... My son would be happy to run a double. My son died in Vietnam.' I thought, Wow, this guy is putting this all on me. I was really mad. But I tucked it away. Not to be guilty about, but to help me ask, as I finally did in 1970, What are you going to do?"
James joined the Marines and then, in 1972, went to work at Stockton State College, a liberal-arts school tucked into the New Jersey pine barrens 12 miles from Atlantic City. Today he is Stockton's assistant dean of students and director of athletics and recreation. "I think I'm one of the few who skated," he says of his Olympic teammates. "A lot have had it rough."
Almost all members of the team have gravitated to community service or teaching, usually at modest schools. Beamon is a parks and recreation program coordinator for Dade County (Fla.). Major Charlie Greene, the bronze medalist in the 100 in Mexico City, retired from the Army after 20 years to work for the Special Olympics. Even Carlos, his bellicosity always soothed by the nearness of children, now coaches.
They seem to have inspired others to more career success than they themselves achieved, or were allowed. "I have people say, 'I'm a doctor or teacher or lawyer because of what you did,' " says James. "That kept mc going at first, and I get it still, and I hardly did anything but run."
After Smith's football career sputtered out, his marriage foundered. "We came together as athletes, and it worked for a while." Smith says. "Denise is a good person and forcefully supported the OPHR. But the consequences of the victory stand got to us in different ways. Her interests were fashion, dance and theater. It bothered both of us that I wasn't as financially successful as the pro athletes we knew in Cincinnati.