olympic project for human rights

Olympic Black Power Salute

Originally posted by odinsblog

#Onthisday in 1968, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos clenched their fists in protest during the Mexico City Olympics. Their gesture attracted the attention of international audiences and gained support from around the world, however, Smith and Carlos were ostracized at home. Peter Norman, the Australian silver medalist, also joined the protest in solidarity by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badge on his uniform.

During the medal ceremony for the 200-meter sprint, Smith and Carlos dressed in black socks and no shoes as a symbol for African American Poverty, a black glove symbolizing unity and strength, and a scarf and beads in honor of lynching victims. They bowed their heads and raised their fists as the United States National Anthem played. Following the protest, the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended the two athletes. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

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Saw this on Twitter and kinda wanted to cry about it. :’)

PSA: Peter Norman was an Australian, and when Tommie Smith and John Carlos decided they were going to protest on the podium, he flat out told them “I’ll stand with you” and asked one of the other Americans to borrow his Olympic Project for Human Rights badge. When Smith and Carlos realized they only had one pair of black gloves, it was Norman who advised them to each only wear one. And keep in mind that racism in Australia in the ‘60s was ATROCIOUS, so when he returned home he was completely vilified, ridiculed, treated as a pariah. The Australian Olympic Committee essentially ended his running career by keeping him off the '72 Olympic team despite times more than good enough to qualify, left him out of all celebrations for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and didn’t even formally apologize to him until 2012 (a cool six years after he died). He basically destroyed his life for a fight that wasn’t his to fight.

Thankfully, though, Carlos and Smith remained close friends with him for his entire life, and both eulogized him and acted as pallbearers at his funeral. USA Track and Field declared the date of his funeral to be Peter Norman Day, and back in 2000 invited him to meet with the U.S. Olympic team and treated him like the hero his own country refused to acknowledge that he was.

There’s no-one in the nation of Australia that should be honoured, recognised, appreciated more than Peter Norman for his humanitarian concerns, his character, his strength and his willingness to be a sacrificial lamb for justice. -John Carlos

All three of these men are heroes.

The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute: African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a gesture of solidarity at the 1968 Olympic games. Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their protest. Both Americans were expelled from the games as a result.

A piece of Black History

Today marks the first day of the Olympics in Sochi, and many nations have come together to try and fight the injustice of Russia’s prejudice against the LGBT community. But this is not the first time something like this has happened. Some of you may recognize this from the 1968 Summer Olympics : You may know this as the Black Power salute, but it was more than just that. It was a human rights salute, and it is one of the most overtly political statements of the Olympic games. 

First place went to American Tommie Smith, second went to Australian Peter Norman, and third went to John Carlos. Everything about their walk and standing at the podium is symbolic. Smith and Carlos received their medals without shoes, just wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf to represent black pride. Carlos has his track suit unzipped to show his solidarity with all blue collar workers, and a bead necklace to represent all that were lynched, or killed and no one said a prayer for them, for those who were hung and tarred.

All three wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, Norman wore it for solidarity with them as he was protesting Australian immigration policies.