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Today, Wednesday 9 October is Peter Norman Day. This day is marked in both Australia and the US to remember Australian athletics legend, Peter Norman. This man is more than the current Australian record holder for the 200m, which would have won him gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he is remembered for the role he played in the silent protest of American sprinters Tommie Smith, who won gold, and John Carlos, the bronze medalist.
Peter Norman’s stance in solidarity at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico Games, was one for equality and has played an integral role in the development of the civil rights movement in sport and society since then.
Today, Melbourne Sports Centres, the Victorian Government and Athletics Australia were proud to unveil a bronze statue of Peter Norman, near the main entrance of Lakeside Stadium. The unveiling was attended by several media outlets as well as Glenn Turner (Athletics Victoria SEO), Steve Dimopoulos (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer), Darren Gocher (Athletics Australia CEO), Janita Norman (Peter Norman’s daughter), Louis Laumen (statue sculptor) and, Peter Norman's coach Neville Sillitoe OAM who is now 94.
Athletics Australia CEO, Darren Gocher used this occasion to announce the new award winner for the Peter Norman Humanitarian Award, Robert de Castella. This award was established in 2018 to celebrate a member of the community who exemplifies the spirit of Peter Norman through their work for human rights, equality and humanitarian causes.
Sculptor Louis Laumen, spoke on the difficulties he faced when perfecting the stand of Norman. He elaborated to say, that the sculpture took around to year to conceptualise, with the studio work initially in clay taking three months, followed by another three turning the sculpture into bronze.