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English: The Peter Norman Story - Resporting

About the book

Peter Norman is the 'forgotten man' in one of the most powerful and influential photos of all time.

Peter is in the photo because he won Australia a silver medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics after running the 200 metres in 20.06 seconds. In 2018, 50 years on, it is still the Australian record.

But Peter Norman is a hero to millions today not for the race or the record, but for what he did next.

Hearing of US medallists John Carlos and Tommie Smith's plan to protest against inequality on the dais, Peter pinned an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge to his green and gold tracksuit and said: "I'll stand with you."

That act of solidarity cost Peter Norman everythin. All three men were cast into exile, their lives sent spiralling. But it secured a unique friendship - and a legend that, in its recent 50th anniversary, was more powerful than ever.

Norman was a working-class, Salvation Army-raised boy from Melbourne who became a global icon for equality and courage, yet who remained an enigma to even those closest to him.  It's a story about taking a stand and inspiring people everywhere to stand with you.

Taken from the book blurb : The Peter Norman Story by Andrew Webster & Matt Norman

Themes to Explore

  • The ethics of  speaking up for political and social justice issues
  • Racism in Australia during the same period with its White Australia policy
  • Black Power movement in the United States
  • Politics and Sport - do they mix?

About the author

Peter Norman was born in Melbourne, Australia, on 15th June, 1942 and grew up in a devout Salvation Army family. He joined the Melbourne Harriers and won his first major title, the Victoria junior 200m championship in 1960.

Norman became a physical training teacher. Norman continued to run and in 1966 he won the national championship. In the Commonwealth Games team in Jamaica he took bronze in the 220 yards and the 4 x 110 yard relay team.

Norman finished second in the 1968 Olympic Games 200m final. Tommie Smith won gold in the 200m by setting a new world record. John Carlos, took bronze. While the Star-Spangled Banner played during the medal ceremony, Smith raised his right, black-gloved fist to represent Black Power, while Carlos's raised left fist represented black unity. Norman joined the protest by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge.


         Australia Athletics History

Look in the Databases

Original Newspaper references

Search the old newspaper index "Trove" at the National library for original mentions of the race and its consequences for Peter Norman.

Search  Peter Norman 

Audio and Video

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