Australia will honor Peter Norman with statue for role in 1968 Olympic protest

Australia will erect a statue of a homegrown sprinter who backed two Americans in their famed Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, with authorities describing the honor as “seriously overdue.” Peter Norman, silver medalist in the 200-meter event in Mexico City, stood on the podium alongside U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who both put a black-gloved fist in the air in a civil rights protest. The gesture caused outrage at the time but Norman quietly showed his solidarity with the Americans by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. Norman had spoken to the pair before the medal ceremony and agreed to wear the badge of the OPHR, a U.S. civil rights organization consisting of mainly black amateur athletes that campaigned to eradicate racism from sport. As a result, he was frozen out of future Olympic selection and airbrushed from Australian Olympic history until recently. Athletics Australia said Norman’s actions were now recognized as “one of Australian sports’ most iconic moments and a special moment in Olympic history.”

posted Thursday October 11th