The black power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was an iconic moment in the US civil rights movement. What part did the white Australian who ran second play and what price did these athletes pay for standing up for their beliefs?

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The black power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was an iconic moment in the US civil rights movement. What part did the white Australian who ran second play and what price did these athletes pay for standing up for their beliefs?

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The games we never saw...

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Documentary | Sport

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17 July 2008 (Australia)  »

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Salute: The Peter Norman Story  »

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AUD 2,000,000 (estimated)
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Moving and Timely Documentary
8 June 2008 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

I have just come from the world premiere of 'Salute' here at the Sydney Film Festival where it received a standing ovation by some members of the audience. The film is a documentary on the events surrounding a famous incident at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico that also became a photographic icon - at their medal ceremony United States Olympic track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black glove fists in salute against the inequality and black poverty at home (they also did not wear shoes, only socks). In particular the film is about the lesser known Australian Peter Norman, the silver medalist in that race who knew the injustice that was being felt by his fellow athletes (along with the people of Mexico where student protesters had recently been murdered by the military) and how he could, through this little patch of podium, show his solidarity with their plight by wearing a human rights badge (Australia too had the discriminatory White Australia policy and had only recently at the time given their indigenous aboriginal population the vote). It is a straightforward, timely and very moving documentary with interviews from various athletes of the time that also takes a critical look at the fallout of their stand - Norman was reprimanded and ostracized, Smith and Carlos were ostracized and suspended. There are many moments of humor throughout, particularly when Norman was asked by a reporter how would the Olympics have been affected if the African American athletes had boycotted them in protest, his reply – I would have won gold! Australian Peter Norman along with Tommie Smith and John Carlos should be admired and remembered. Highly Recommended


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