About the Games
These were the first Olympic Games to be staged in Latin America with 5516 participants from 112 countries. They competed in 172 events.
Most medals won (from a total of 42 teams) by: 1. USA – 107 (45, 28, 34), 2. USSR – 91 (29, 32, 30), 3. Japan – 25 (11, 7, 7).
Lithuania in the Games
10 Lithuanian athletes participated in these historical Games and 9 of them won medals (with the exception of rower Apolinaras Grigas).
In Mexico City 2 Lithuanian athletes became Olympic champions: light heavyweight boxer Danas became the first Lithuanian to win a gold medal, while Vasilijus Matuševas did the same in the volleyball event where he played in the USSR volleyball team.
Boxer Jonas Čepulis became the vice-champion in heavyweight category. In the finals he lost to the American boxing legend George Foreman.
Pentathlete Stasys Šaparnis, who placed 9th in individual competition, won silver in team competition.
Vice champions of the Rome Summer Olympics Zigmas Jukna and Antanas Bagdonavičius, as well as Julius Vytautas Briedis and Juozapas Aleksandras Jagelavičius together with their team mates from other USSR republics won bronze in rowing eights event.
Basketball player Modestas Paulauskas, who played as a part of the USSR team, won his first Olympic bronze medal.
Mexican hurdler Enriqueta Basilio became the first woman to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.
For the first time all Olympic champions had to undergo a doping test.
Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska became one of the heroines of the Games by winning four gold and two silver medals. The athlete defeated Soviet gymnasts only two months after the Soviet invasion of her homeland.
The high altitude of Mexico City (2,240 m) led to many world records, mostly in track and field. This elevation was the highest the Olympic Games have taken place at.
In Mexico City American Bob Beamon performed a spectacular long jump of 8.90 m. This record was bested only in 1991, when another Americal Mike Powell jumped 8.95 m.
The Games were boycotted by North Korea. It wished to compete under the name of “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, to which the IOC had disagreed.
In the medal award ceremony for the men’s 200 meter race, black American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a black-gloved fist and hung their heads when their country’s national anthem was played. In doing this, the athletes were protesting against racial segregation in the United States. For these actions both athletes were expelled from the Olympic Village.
Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games
Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics website: