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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Current Events > East Asia and the Pacific

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East Asia and the Pacific China - Japan - Australia and challenges throughout East Asia.

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  #1  
Old 23 Aug 12, 16:48
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Aussie Government Issues Apology To '68 Sprinter

Was surfing through some different websites and came across this tidbit about Aussie sprinter Peter Norman who won silver at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. So what right? However he was the 3rd man on the podium when US sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave their famous "Black Power" salutes, causing a huge controversy. Apparently Peter Norman was in sympathy with them and was wearing a patch for equality. The Australian Government and Olympic Committee were not amused:

Quote:
After the race, gold and bronze medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their heads and raised their fists on the medal stand and started an international firestorm. Many see the iconic image and assume Norman was just a bystander to history, or as he would joke, "the white guy."

But he was standing in full solidarity with Smith and Carlos, wearing a patch on his chest that reads, "Olympic Project for Human Rights." As Norman recalled to sports writer Mike Wise, when he heard what Carlos and Smith were going to do he had to show his support. "I couldn't see why a black man wasn't allowed to drink out of the same water fountain or sit in the same bus or go to the same schools as a white guy. That was just social injustice that I couldn't do anything about from where I was, but I certainly abhorred it."

On that day, Norman earned the undying respect of Smith, Carlos and countless others. But that didn't help him upon returning home.

Silver medal or not, Peter Norman was now a pariah in Australia, a country that at the time held racial exclusion laws that rivaled apartheid South Africa. He was banned from running. He was denied a spot on their 1972 team after qualifying. He and his family were harassed, refused work, and made to suffer.
http://socialistworker.org/2012/08/2...verdue-apology

Having never heard of this other aspect of the famous fist raising incident, I was wondering how our Aussie members here feel about this and whether or not the article is correct. I don't normally visit that site but this article caught my eye.

Thanks for any feedback.
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  #2  
Old 23 Aug 12, 23:48
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I'd never heard of it before now either.

From the sounds of it, it was a disgraceful thing to do.

(I mean the discrimination, of course).
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Old 24 Aug 12, 01:42
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Couldn't find an article about it that might have at least some truth in it?

Quote:
Peter Norman was now a pariah in Australia, a country that at the time held racial exclusion laws that rivaled apartheid South Africa. He was banned from running. He was denied a spot on their 1972 team after qualifying.
That whole paragraph is a lie from start to finish. He was never a pariah. We did not have racial laws equal to South Africa in 1968. How could he be banned from running if he qualified four years later? (He finished 3rd in the qualifier and was struggling with injury - no conspiracy here).

He was given a quiet word that bringing political agendas to the Olympics weren't the done thing, and that was the end of it.

The stupid government apologised because his mother made a fuss about something he was never worried about (or even noted existed).

You need to read better websites.
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  #4  
Old 24 Aug 12, 01:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojik View Post
Couldn't find an article about it that might have at least some truth in it?



That whole paragraph is a lie from start to finish. He was never a pariah. We did not have racial laws equal to South Africa in 1968. How could he be banned from running if he qualified four years later? (He finished 3rd in the qualifier and was struggling with injury - no conspiracy here).

He was given a quiet word that bringing political agendas to the Olympics weren't the done thing, and that was the end of it.

The stupid government apologised because his mother made a fuss about something he was never worried about (or even noted existed).

You need to read better websites.
Agreed, it's a total beat-up.
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  #5  
Old 24 Aug 12, 04:37
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I heard on the radio the other day that he had a knee injury which resulted in him missing out during qualifying, this is what the Australian Olympic Committee have stated, and continue to stand by.
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Old 24 Aug 12, 06:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojik View Post
Couldn't find an article about it that might have at least some truth in it?



That whole paragraph is a lie from start to finish. He was never a pariah. We did not have racial laws equal to South Africa in 1968. How could he be banned from running if he qualified four years later? (He finished 3rd in the qualifier and was struggling with injury - no conspiracy here).

He was given a quiet word that bringing political agendas to the Olympics weren't the done thing, and that was the end of it.

The stupid government apologised because his mother made a fuss about something he was never worried about (or even noted existed).

You need to read better websites.
That's why I brought it here. I couldn't find anything else on this, so I figured I'd bring to you guys here.

So it's complete BS?
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Old 24 Aug 12, 07:36
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There would seem to be something more to it than just a knee injury preventing his qualifying, if he ran so many qualifying times prior to the event and was ranked so highly in the world at the time. Although to be fair from what I have read it is said he did not tell the AOC about his injury and they say they did not send anyone due to funding. But given that he was left out of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was only a part of it because the American team invited him suggests a longer term issue with him.

But the Australian Olympic Committe has refused to back the apology.

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politi...820-24hh6.html
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Last edited by Sergio; 24 Aug 12 at 07:51..
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Old 24 Aug 12, 08:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Evans View Post
That's why I brought it here. I couldn't find anything else on this, so I figured I'd bring to you guys here.

So it's complete BS?
Close enough for me. Plenty of athletes don't get chosen to go to the Olympics even though they reckon they should have been picked. We had one guy accuse the AOC of racism for not picking him in the 400m in the Games just gone. He too sat on the grey maybe picked / maybe not picked line and missed out. Happens all the time.

If Norman won the race he came third in, or someone from the AOC at the time said that some in the organisation had an issue, then there would be merit to the apology and the rest of the circus, but all you have here is the black armband crew using this a soapbox to give another kick at whitey for being the inherently evil people we apparently are.

Quote:
He and his family were harassed, refused work, and made to suffer.
That's got to be the funniest bit. We probably burnt crosses on their lawn.
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Old 24 Aug 12, 08:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojik View Post
That's got to be the funniest bit. We probably burnt crosses on their lawn.
Well, that was a popular family outing back in the ole' days.
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Old 24 Aug 12, 12:28
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Crack shot, can't believe I was at Noosa Sun Resort three weeks ago and missed ringing you up. Greatly enjoyed the grub and times as the Noosa Surf club, but I'm sure you know better spots.

For R Evans. To second what Rojik and others have said, ask youself this: I Australia had such racist laws in force in '68, what would they have had in 1951.

That was when Captain Reggie Saunders, an Aboriginal officer in the Australian regular force, commanded a company of the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment at the battle of Kapyong in Korea. Needless to say, the vast majority of his company were White. You can google him.

It's not that there weren't racist attitudes in Australia at the time. No one would tell you there weren't. But it was not official policy, and Aboriginals who tried could get ahead.

Yes, you need to frequent better websites.
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