Australian sprinter Peter Norman, blacklisted for supporting the Black Power protesters at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, may finally receive a well-deserved apology from the Australian Parliament after after 44 years.
Norman, the subject of the recently released documentary film SALUTE, who still holds the Australian record, ran second in the men’s 200m final winning him the silver medal. On the podium, he proudly wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge to support African-American athletes Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze), who gave their famous black power salute.
In a not so tolerant society, Norman was punished for his involvement and blacklisted from the 1972 Munich Games, despite qualifying for the 100m and 200m events in world-beating times. He then decided to quit his beloved athletics in protest and never ran again.
According to sources, this is an extract from the proposed apology: “….Apologises to Peter Norman for the wrong done by Australia in failing to send him to the 1972 Munich Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying; and belatedly recognises the powerful role that Peter Norman played in furthering racial equality.”
Fellow athletes Smith and Carlos who also feature in the documentary and speak of highly of their friend and supporter, were each suspended from the US track and field team. Unfortunately neither of them have ever received a similar apology.
Norman, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 64, is the subject of the award winning documentary SALUTE which documents the complete story of the 1968 black power salute. Through the narrative of Norman’s life, the film outlines the harsh and not so pleasant historical track record of the Western world when dealing with equality and human rights.
SALUTE was recently released in cinemas in the UK and is available now on DVD and On Demand.
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