I watched a documentary on the BBC a few years ago about the unforgettable events that took place at the 1968 Mexico Olympics when two members of Team USA took a stand for what they believed in at raised their gloved fists in defiance to the way America was treating members of the black community. As iconic at the photograph was the backlash the athletes faced was something I never knew of until I saw the documentary.
Released in cinemas in the UK on the 13th of July (the DVD is set to be released on the 30th), Salute tells the story of what really happened at the Olympics. The documentary was shot by Matt Norman, the nephew of the third athlete on the podium Peter Norman.
Speaking about the documentary Norman says:
What makes this story so important today is that most people forget the sacrifice made by the Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman… “The White Guy”. He wasn’t just a bystander of what Tommie Smith and John Carlos did but an equal participant. It has long been a mystery that Peter Norman actually went along with the stand Tommie and John made and did so knowing that this would put his life at risk. Australia had it’s own racial issues with the “White Australia Policy” in full swing, Aboriginals unable to vote and the typical “us and them” mentality. Why then did a white Australian stand up for Black America in such a strong way. For the first time ever, SALUTE brings together Tommie Smith, John Carlos and the late Peter Norman to find out what really happened and not what people “think happened”.
There’s a screening of the film plus a Q&A via Skype with the director at the Curzon on Thursday – I’d definitely recommend you check it out.
For more information about the film visit the following: