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My guest today is Matt Norman.
Matt is an Aussie actor/director/producer who has a new documentary coming out called “Salute The Movie” (watch the trailer here). It tells the story of his uncle Peter Norman. Now, if you’re like me, you probably haven’t heard the name before but you probably do recognize this photo:
Peter Norman is the white guy. He was an Aussie Olympian who won the Silver Medal in the Men’s 200 metre race at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. The two athletes with him on the podium were Tommie Smith and John Carlos. They both raised their fists in the “Black Power” salute. Peter gave his support by wearing the OPHR (Olympic Project for Human Rights) badge.
All three were booed when they left the podium and then ostracized in their respective countries for having the audacity to use this opportunity to make a political statement. All three were punished severely by their respective Olympic organizations and in Peter’s case, he was not picked for the ’72 Olympics, even though he came third in the trials.
This story is, of course, extremely relevant today, when Australian and American Olympic athletes are again being gagged by their respective organizations with respect to using the Olympics as an opportunity to speak out about China’s human rights abuses in Tibet and Darfur. Will any of them athletes have the balls to speak out? Or will they allow themselves to be gagged?
The G’Day World theme music: