In Mexico City, the 200 meter final was run. American (black) athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos came first and third, while Australian (white) Peter Norman won the second.
While they were waiting for the medal ceremony, Carlos came to Peter Norman and asked;
─ Do you believe in human rights?
─ Yes, I believe.
What about God?
─ With all my heart…
On top of that, the two black athletes announced the action plan on their heads, Norman participated without hesitation; I will support your action, tell me what to do!
For the first time, two young men were planning a great provocation or even a revolutionary action for those days: They would protest racial discrimination in America and poverty and second-class citizenship … But how?
The idea comes from Norman: they have found a pair of black leather gloves, the right one in Tommie, the left one in John’s hands;
They have gone to the rostrum with bare feet to symbolize poverty, their heads have tilted forward with grief, they have raised their clenched fists in the air.
The white athlete Peter Norman, who stands in front of them, was also pinning the heart of the ‘Olympic Project Movement for Human Rights’ smell on his heart to show his solidarity.
While playing the American national anthem, the plan has been executed and action has been taken.
And of course, the world was coming together. America stands up. Even the Olympics are in the shade, world newspapers show the photo of black athletes punch in the air from the first page …
The American Olympic Committee ends the sports career of the two black people that second. The action has reached its goal, the situation of the black minority in America has entered the world agenda.
Smith and Carlos sacrificed their sports lives (and therefore their future), but have gone into world history. They have become the deity of hundreds of millions of oppressed black in the world.
What about Australian white Peter Norman?
Tommie Smith says;
─ Peter was a white. In those days, the dignified and backbone white who had the courage to defend the rights of blacks was very few.
When Peter returned to Australia, no one was looking at his face, he was judged by everyone. His athletic career was over and he was excluded from sports circles.
We had such troubled days due to threats, unemployment and isolation, the first marriage of all three of us ended in this process. The Australian State did not forgive Norman until he died, but …
Norman took his revenge on the grave: the 200-meter Australian record that he broke while he was second in the final of the 1968 Olympics, still could not be broken 38 years later.
The ‘action brotherhood’ and friendships of two American and one Australian ‘cursed’ athletes that started that day lasted a lifetime.
During the 38 years that passed, they corresponded, met, saw each other.
Until Peter Norman had a heart attack in his garden and died at the age of 64.
And now, take a good look at the photo below;
The funeral ceremony in Melbourne. The ‘honorable white athlete’ Peter Norman’s coffin is on the shoulders of Tommie Smith (left) and John Carlos!
The three ‘action brothers’ are shoulder to shoulder for the last time.