Peter Norman

Discussion in 'Other Sport and Pastimes' started by Willow, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Willow

    Willow Administrator

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    Well it only took 50 years but Olympian Peter Norman has finally been recognised by the AOC.

    Peter Norman, Olympian and Australian 200m record-holder, given posthumous Order of Merit by AOC

    For those who don't know Peter Norman...
    Excerpts from: http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/t...land-vs-papua-new-guinea.347932/#post-6222200

    On the morning of October 16, 1968, at the Mexico City Olympics, African-American athlete Tommie Smith won the 200m Gold Medal in a then-world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Silver medalist was Australia's Peter Norman and John Carlos landed third place. The radical Black Panthers Group wanted three black runners on the podium, but Norman was simply too good. Upon realising this, Norman decided to stick up for his fellow athletes in what he believed was a just cause. He figured joining in the salute was too much of a wank for a white guy on the other side of the world. So he wore a badge for the Olympic Project for Human Rights - established to protest racial segregation. Just a badge.

    Peter Norman's time of 20.06 seconds still stands as the Australian 200m record. He was a five-time Australian 200m champion.

    What followed was a major injustice, far bigger then the pettiness we wrap ourselves up in nowadays. Smith and Carlos were expelled from the Games and ostracised in the USA. But in the changing social climate of America, both men were eventually brought back into the fold.

    Norman's punishment was far more insidious. In the Sydney 2000 Olympics, while all past champions were being remembered, Norman's name didn't rate a mention. Meanwhile, at San Jose State University, there is a statue celebrating the stance taken by Smith and Carlos.

    In Melbourne in 2006, Norman died of a heart attack.

    At the funeral, pallbearer Smith described Norman as "a man who believed right could never be wrong."

    "Peter Norman's legacy is a rock. Stand on that rock." Smith added.

    Fellow pallbearer Carlos spoke of the hatred directed at the three men. "Not every young white individual would have the gumption, the nerve, the backbone, to stand there."

    As far as bonding sessions go, this was quite the bell ringer.
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  2. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    Saw this. Good news. I know we have social problems now, but how bad was it that these guys were alienated for this, a show of human decency, dignity and equality
     
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  3. Tommy Smith

    Tommy Smith Coach

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    Sadly I think the fact that it took so long is a damning indictment of the AOC. I can only conclude that racist elements have existed within the organisation for a long time.

    His absence during the Sydney Games was a travesty. What a missed opportunity to see both Norman and Cathy Freeman light the flame together; or at the very least he could have handed her the baton.

    It should also be noted that not only is Norman a truly fine human being but he's also Australia's greatest ever male athlete. He still holds the Australian record for the 200m set in 1968 with a time of 20.06.

    The time is obscenely quick and for the record to hold up for so long given the advancements in sports science I think is one of Australia's most remarkable sporting records.
     
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  4. Willow

    Willow Administrator

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    Yes indeed... Norman's 200m Australian record has remained unbroken for 50 years! By itself, that's an amazing stat which should put him on the same level as many of Australia's greatest sportspeople.

    And yet, the AOC couldn't bring themselves to say so until now.

    It raises a lot of questions. In particular, why did it take so long for the AOC and Athletics Australia to do the right thing?

    Interestingly, Norman has received far more respect amongst the sporting community in the USA.

    The US Track and Field Federation declared October 9, the day of Norman's funeral, as Peter Norman Day. Last week, his part was further recognised with the unveiling of a statue at the Museum of African American History in Washington.
    Link: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/peter-...-1968-black-power-salute-20180427-p4zc2y.html
     
  5. Tommy Smith

    Tommy Smith Coach

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    It's another sad reality that we lag far behind the USA when it comes to understanding and appreciating the significance of our own civil rights struggle for Indigenous Australians.

    And as a result we don't tend to celebrate the key figures during this struggle to anywhere near the degree that the Americans do.

    I would hazard a guess that in the USA not only is Martin Luther King a household name, but also the likes of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, and so on.

    In contrast how many Australians even know of Eddie Mabo? No wonder when half the nation still wants to deny the stolen generation.

    I may have gone off on a tangent but it's all linked. Our own inability to embrace this history is a big part of why Norman has been shunned by the AOC and tragically somehwat forgotten by our history pages.
     
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