Sunday, October 19, 2008


There's a mural on a random house wall around Newtown area... I remember zooming past it on the train every morning as I trekked from Blacktown to the City, making my way either to Uni or work. I didn't think much about it, apart from that I thought it was pretty cool of someone to stick it up there. I loved looking at it everytime I made the commute.

Last week, a mate sent me a BBC article entitled, "The other man on the podium". Who was the third man on the podium for the black power salute? I looked a little closer at the colour picture of the third man:

Holy moly! There's a kangaroo on his jacket! How cool, he's an Aussie! :) Peter Norman was the 200m silver medalist at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

The smile on my face soon disappeared as I read more about what happened to Peter Norman after that day. On the podium, Peter Norman wore a badge from the Olympic Project for Human Rights, an organisation against racism. He did it to support fellow medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos in their cause. From that moment on, Australia turned its back on Peter Norman. Even though Peter Norman qualified to make the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, he wasn't chosen to represent Australia. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he was the only Australian Olympian excluded from the VIP lap of honour. The Americans showed better manners and invited Peter Norman to be part of their camp. They at least, didn't forget.

Until last week, I had never heard of Peter Norman. I'm ashamed.
This guy's a hero. I'm ashamed that my country had a chance to make things right at the 2000 Olympics, and instead went out of its way to make things worse.

I wish he was still alive so I could write him a letter.


Anonymous said...

There is a doco called "Salute" that came out at this year's Sydney film festival about PN that you might be interested in watching - download it? He's famous amongst the African Americans. He's always been snobbed - in 2000, he was invited by Michael Jordan et al to celebrate with the USA team - you never hear of him otw

x ystar

Kev said...

Thanks for writing this.