Apology debate for 'Black Power' Aus hero Peter Norman

Aug 21, 2012, 09:07 IST | AFP

An Australian athlete who supported the famous Black Power salute of two Americans at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was yesterday to be the subject of a parliamentary motion that he be given an apology for how he was treated

Peter Norman was the silver medallist in the 200m at Mexico City, and stood on the dais alongside United States athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who both put a black-gloved fist in the air in a civil rights protest. Norman, who died of a heart attack in 2006, backed their gesture and wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support.

Peter Norman (left) stands on the podium as USA’s Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos raise their fists in protest of racial discrimination in USA during the 1968 Mexico Games. PIC/AFP

Lawmaker Andrew Leigh said on his website that parliament would debate his motion to apologise posthumously to Norman “whose courageous stance for racial equality got him blocked from competing in subsequent Olympics”. The motion apologises “for the wrong done by Australia in failing to send him to the 1972 Munich Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying.”

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