Peter Norman: The Dark Story Of The 1968 Australian Olympic Medalist Who Was Ostracised For Showing His Support To Fellow Athletes Who Raised Black-Gloved Fists During The Mexico Olympics Award Ceremony

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Peter Norman: The Dark Story Of The 1968 Australian Olympic Medalist Who Was Ostracised For Showing His Support To Fellow Athletes Who Raised Black-Gloved Fists During The Mexico Olympics Award Ceremony

53 years ago, on the 16th of October 1968, African-American Olympic winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raised a black-gloved fist during the Mexico Olympics medal award ceremony, a salute to express their support in human rights and indiscrimination. The salute was performed during the playing of the US national anthem.


Following the Olympic awards ceremony and upon their arrival back in the US, both athletes had their medals removed and were forbidden from participating in the Olympic Games again.


Although their story is widely known, the fate of fellow athlete and winner of the silver medal in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, Peter Norman from Australia, is not much discussed. Norman was a firm supporter of Smith and Carlos and faced ostracising in his community.


Norman, who was already informed by Smith and Carlos about their salute prior to the awards ceremony, decided to show his support by wearing a badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Norman was rejected from representing Australia in the next Olympic Games.


Following his gesture of support, Norman received harsh treatment in his home country. His achievement in the Mexico Olympics was largely ignored and remained unrecognised by the Australian media, while he was expelled from participating in the Olympic Games again. He was therefore forced to retire from his career as a professional runner.


Norman and his family were targeted and subjected to harsh criticism for years. In 1972, he changed career paths and played professional football for five years before becoming a coach for a team under 19 in 1978.


Following an accident tearing his achilles tendon in 1985, Norman risked having his leg amputated for contracting gangrene as a result. He spent years dealing with depression and alcoholism.


In 2006, Norman died of a heart attack. Smith and Carlos travelled to Australia to carry his casket.


People like Peter Norman should be praised for reacting against injustice and the injustice they faced themselves as a consequence should be acknowledged. They are those who strive for change and equality despite belonging in a more privileged group.


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Thinking Humanity: Peter Norman: The Dark Story Of The 1968 Australian Olympic Medalist Who Was Ostracised For Showing His Support To Fellow Athletes Who Raised Black-Gloved Fists During The Mexico Olympics Award Ceremony
Peter Norman: The Dark Story Of The 1968 Australian Olympic Medalist Who Was Ostracised For Showing His Support To Fellow Athletes Who Raised Black-Gloved Fists During The Mexico Olympics Award Ceremony
53 years ago, on the 16th of October 1968, African-American Olympic winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raised a black-gloved fist during the Me
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