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Friday, October 13, 2006
Death of an unsung supporter of the First Amendment

Earlier in the week I blogged about Tommie Smith and John Carlos as one of the most-famous examples of athletes' political speech. This week's Sports Illustrated reports on the death of Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who won the silver medal in that race and shared the medal stand with Carlos and Smith in the famous photo. (See at left). A fuller story on Norman (and on the Carlos/Smith protest) is available here.

According to the blurb in SI, Norman supported the protest by wearing a human-rights button during the ceremony. Also, it apparently was Norman's idea that Carlos and Smith each wear one glove. Carlos had forgotten his gloves, so Norman suggested that each wear one of his gloves, on different hands. Norman was reprimanded by Australian sports authorities, although not as severely punished or ostracized as Carlos and Smith.

Norman appeared with Carlos and Smith in 2005 at a ceremony at San Jose State University, where a statue of the two American sprinters was unveiled.


Can you be more specific about the punishment Carlos and Smith underewent?

No offense, but that sounds like hyperbole.

Blogger John Salmon -- 10/13/2006 10:31 PM  

Thanks for the insight into Peter Norman. When I was a kid I had a collage of pictures from Sports Illistrated on my bedroom wall. This was one of the pictures in the collage. Funny, I can't remember ever thinking of the third guy on the podiums. Now I know.



Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/13/2006 10:51 PM  

As I said in the original post on the subject and as the article to which I link here says: They were kicked out of the Olympic Village (and thus kicked out of Mexico) and banned by the USOC from Olympic Competition (a ban that apparently remains in place today). That, I think, qualifies as a form of punishment (the concept is not limited to imprisonment). They also apparently received death threats and had an apparently hard time moving forward with their lives--which counts, I think, as being "ostracized."

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 10/13/2006 10:53 PM  

For more on the events in 1968- read Frank Murphy's fine new book- The Last Protest- Lee Evans in Mexico City. It focuses on Lee Evans who won the 400 meters and how he dealt with the IOC.

Anonymous Craig K -- 10/15/2006 12:41 PM  

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