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Obama celebrates US Olympians and trail blazers who came before

US Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith (R) and John Carlos (C), who raised their fists in the air on the medal podium during the 1968 Olympics, attend a ceremony hosted by US President Barack Obama honoring the 2016 US Olympic and Paralympic teamsUS President Barack Obama welcomed relatives of Jesse Owens and 17 other black Americans who competed at the 1936 Olympics to the White House on Thursday, 80 years after they were denied the honor. Tommie Smith and John Carlos — the black athletes whose clenched-fist medal podium salute at the 1968 Summer Games saw them ostracized by US Olympic officials for years — were also received as Obama and first lady Michelle Obama honored America’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic competitors. There were light-hearted acknowledgements of some of America’s best-known Olympians, including swimming greats Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, and the recollection of distance runner Abbey D’Agostino’s sporting spirit in helping a competitor to finish a 5,000m heat after a collision.

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