Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper
'Overdue' statue for Aussie 'Black Power' sprinter
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 honour as "seriously overdue".
Peter Norman, silver medallist in the 200m in Mexico City, stood on the podium alongside US 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 US civil rights organisation consisting of mainly black amateur athletes that campaigned to eradicate racism from sport.
As a result, he was frozen out of future Games selection and airbrushed from Australian Olympic history until recently.
Athletics Australia said Norman's actions were now recognised as "one of Australian sports' most iconic moments and a special moment in Olympic history".
It said a bronze statue of Norman, jointly funded with the Victoria state government, would be erected outside the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.
"Initiatives to honour Peter Norman, such as this statue, are seriously overdue," Athletics Australia president Mark Arbib said.