The late sprinter Ronnie Ray Smith received a memorial service befitting his Olympic champion status.
The service for Smith, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. 4x100m relay team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, will be featured on TLC’s “Best Funeral Ever” on Monday night
Here’s why: A casket was rolled over a finish line and propped up on a podium, as reported by the New York Post. Then, loved ones participated in a black-gloved salute like that of Smith’s Olympic teammates, Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Ronnie Ray Smith died on March 31 in a Los Angeles hospice at age 64.
Here are more photos from TLC of the memorial service:
“’More Than Gold’ will invite viewers inside the story of a pioneering athlete, who in the face of racial discrimination at home and the horrific theories and practices of Nazi Germany, performed at his best under immense pressure,” Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group, said in a press release. “Viewers will experience the Games through the compelling memories of Jesse’s surviving Olympic teammates, who were eye-witnesses to those events.”
“More Than Gold” includes interviews with Owens’ 1936 Olympic teammates swimmers Adolph Kiefer and Iris Cummings Critchell and canoeist John Lysak and Owens’ three daughters.
“Jesse Owens was the hero of every member of the 1936 Olympic team,” Kiefer said in a press release. “We all wanted him to win. We wanted him to win four medals. I’m just sorry it wasn’t five. He’s No. 1 and always will be.”
The film will also feature footage from the famous 1936 Olympic film “Olympia” from German director Leni Riefenstahl.
A feature-length film on Owens, “Race,” hits theaters on Feb. 19.
LONDON (AP) — Seeking to calm fears over the Zika outbreak, the IOC medical director tells The Associated Press that “everything that can be done is being done” to combat the virus in Brazil and provide safe conditions for athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Dr. Richard Budgett says the International Olympic Committee is “absolutely not complacent” about the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to birth defects.
He says “our priority is to protect the health of the athletes, we do take it very seriously.”
Budgett says the outbreak should be kept “in perspective,” noting that world health authorities have not called for a restriction on travel to Brazil.
He says there has been no consideration of postponing or canceling the Olympics, which are scheduled from Aug. 5-21.