- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2006

11:55 a.m.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who gave the historic black power salutes at the 1968 Olympics, were reunited for the last time with the third man on that podium.

Smith and Carlos attended the funeral of Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who died last week of a heart attack at 64. The two Americans were pallbearers today at the funeral attended by about 800 people at a town hall at Williamstown, a Melbourne suburb.

“He was a lone soldier in Australia,” Carlos said. “Many people in Australia didn’t particularly understand. Why would that young white fella go over and stand with those black individuals?”

Norman won the silver medal in the 200 meters at the Mexico City Games. His time of 20.06 seconds is still a national record. Smith set a world record in winning the gold medal and Carlos took the bronze, and their civil rights protest became a flash point of the 1968 Olympics.

Smith and Carlos stood shoeless, each wearing a black glove on his raised, clenched fist. They bowed their heads while the U.S. anthem played.

Norman, a physical education teacher, stood on the podium during the Olympic ceremony. He wore a human rights badge on his shirt in support of the two Americans and their statement against racial discrimination in the United States.

“Peter never flinched, he never turned his eye or his head,” Carlos said. “When I looked into his eyes, I saw nothing but love.”

A statue commemorating the protest was erected last year at San Jose State University, where Smith and Carlos were students. Norman supported the decision to have his position on the statue left vacant.

“He said, ‘I was merely a rock cast into deep still waters.’ The ripples from that tiny rock I pray will flow to the shores … of love so that everybody will know the humanitarian acts that we will all accept someday,” Smith said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide