Australia

Peter Norman statue to be erected in Melbourne

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A statue of Australian sprinter and human rights advocate Peter Norman will be erected in Melbourne.

Fifty years after playing a key role in one of the most iconic sporting moments of the 20th century, the late Australian sprinter and human rights advocate Peter Norman will be honoured with a statue in Melbourne.

After finishing second in the 200m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Norman stood in solidarity on the dais with American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists to raise awareness of racial inequality.

Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights pin on his tracksuit after telling gold medallist Smith and third placegetter Carlos he supported their stance.

Smith and Carlos were sent home from Mexico in disgrace by the US Olympic Committee, while Norman also suffered a backlash for his role in the Black Power salute.

Athletics Australia counterpart Mark Arbib said the recognition for Norman, who was posthumously awarded the Order of Merit by the Australian Olympic Committee earlier this year, was long overdue.

"Peter Norman's decision to stand in solidarity with USA athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico 1968, helps define our strong and diverse identity," said Arbib.

"His actions are a fine legacy for the athletics family to commemorate, celebrate and aspire to."

October 9 will now be recognised in Australia as Peter Norman Day, as it is in the US.

The statue, to be erected outside Lakeside Stadium, is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

Norman's time of 20.06 seconds from the 1968 Olympic final still stands as the Australian record.

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Daughter Janita said the family had always taken enormous pride in Norman's actions.

"My father was someone who held strong beliefs and who spoke his mind and yet it's the image of him standing there silently on the podium that has made such an impact on our lives," she said.

"But we are also grateful that his athletic achievement is recognised."

AA also announced on Tuesday that distance runner Eloise Wellings was the inaugural recipient of the Peter Norman Humanitarian Award.

The two-time Olympian is the founding director of the Love Mercy Foundation, which raises money and awareness to help struggling communities in Uganda.

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