The secret of the Olympics photo that killed Peter Norman
In these days when protests around the world for the death of the young African-American George Floyd at the hands of a policeman in the United States are on the surface, there is an image within this fight for equality and to combat racism that It all comes to mind. A snapshot that will remain forever in posterity and will go down in the annals of the history of the Olympic Games and the ‘Black Power’. It is the one of the athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium of the 200 smooth meters of the Games of Mexico’68.
World record and gesture
Smith, who was gold, broke the World Record with a mark of 19.83, ahead of Australian Peter Norman (20.06) and also North American John Carlos (20.10). Beyond that record of Smith, that moment will be saved by the gesture made by the two Americans. Both put on separate black gloves and raised their fists with their heads down as a symbol of support for the ‘Black Power’ movement and in protest at the unrest and racial segregation in the country.
Norman, much more than a mere spectator
The third in disagreement, Norman, will always be remembered for appearing in the photo. But not only did the Australian "‘ spectator ", but it was he himself who provided the gloves to his two 'colleagues'. Something that cost him dearly. Very expensive. Norman achieved the National Record in that race, a record that is still valid today (20.06). Peter decided to support his teammates on the podium. Norman put a sticker on his chest in favor of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). At that time, in Australia, as in the United States, it was a deeply racist place where the so-called “White Australia” prevailed, a series of laws that sought to privilege the white population of European origin over the rest.
Norman, like Smith and Carlos, they kicked him out of the Olympic Village, they abused him in his country, they separated him socially. The athlete was never part of the Australian Olympic team again and was neither invited to the ceremony at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He passed away in 2006 and his coffin was carried by Carlos and Smith, with whom he maintained a great friendship until the end of his days.