Calls for monument to honour the late Australian athlete Peter Norman’s black power stand

Australian silver medallist Peter Norman (left) stands alongside saluting Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right) at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Source: AP

Often touted as the 'forgotten black power hero', there are now calls for Australian Olympic sprinter Peter Norman who stood in solidarity with Tommie Smith and John Carlos to be honoured with a monument erected in Melbourne.

A group dedicated to remembering Australian sprinter Peter Norman have called for a monument to be erected to recognise his role in the black power movement when he stood with US athletes at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Norman, who had won silver that year, never ran in an Olympics again after he supported Tommie Smith and John Carlos who stood with their heads bowed and gloved fists clenched in the air on the podium following their medal wins in the men's 200 metres.

The Australian wore a 'Olympic Project for Human Rights' badge alongside Smith and Carlos which was captured in one of history's most powerful photographs.

Peter Norman
A committee has been set up to remember the sacrifice of Norman who never ran at an Olympics again after the 1968 games.

Almost 50 years later, the Peter Norman Commemoration Committee are pushing for more recognition of the late sprinter's extraordinary stand.

Their aim is to campaign for a monument to go up in his honour in Melbourne City Square.

Norman's daughter Emma Jayne said the family were "absolutely honoured anyone would take the time" to remember her father's stand.

"I feel really proud. He was super humble to us about the stance he took," she told SBS World News.

"We grew up and learned the risks involved [in him] for standing up for what was right.

"It was a courageous move. He said it wasn’t about him, it was for sticking up for people and standing up for people and anyone in his position would do the same."

The committee's convener Joseph Toscano said he wanted the design for the monument to be decided by an open international competition before ideas were assessed and short-listed by the council that will make the final decision.

Norman's career effectively ended the day he took the podium with Smith and Carlos.

Despite running an Australian record in 1968, Norman was not selected for the 1972 Munich Games and retired from athletics.

His stand came just three years after Australia granted Indigenous people the right to vote and a referendum was held in 1967 to recognise them in the Census.

Norman, who was a teacher with Salvation Army beliefs, opposed racism and the White Australia Policy.

He died from a heart attack in 2006 before he was given an apology by the federal parliament in 2012.