The third man on the podium in 1968 Olympic protest

·1 min read

Steve Rose’s fascinating piece about Tommie Smith and the raised-fist salute made by him and John Carlos at the Olympic Games in 1968 made only a passing reference to Peter Norman, the third man on the podium in Mexico City (People shunned me like hot lava’: the runner who raised his fist and risked his life, 14 October).

Norman was no mere bystander to the protest and publicly voiced his support for Smith and Carlos. His outspokenness cost him dear as he was treated like a pariah in his native Australia and ostracised by the Australian sporting community, despite his silver medal in the 200m. It took many years for Norman to be recognised as a pioneer for human rights, and it was not until 2019 that a statue was erected in his honour at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.

Smith and Carlos never forgot the selflessness of the stand taken by Norman and they became lifelong friends. Both were pallbearers at Norman’s funeral in 2006 and, in his eulogy, Carlos revealed that it was Norman who suggested that the two Americans share the famous pair of black gloves used in their protest.
Mike Pender

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