Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Simple Gesture- A Lifelong Friendship

Sometimes words aren't needed. Sometimes a simple gesture can "speak" far better than well constructed speeches. Such was the case at the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalist from the United States, took to the victory stand and silently raised a fist and bowed their heads. Beside them stood Peter Norman of Australia, the silver medalist. He gladly participated in the "human rights" empowerment by wearing a badge and issuing a statement acknowledging that he was but a small ripple in a deep silent pond and he hoped that one of those ripples would reach the shores and initiate others to be involved in the fight for human rights no matter what the color, profession, age or income of those who are not treated equally.

A few years ago, a statue was erected commemorating the moment at the San Diego State University where both Smith and Carlos had been teammates. Absent from the depiction was the 3rd medalist Peter Norman with his complete agreement to be excluded. He was very aware of his participation at Mexico City and later-Smith and Carlos were two of his greatest friends. His teammates.

Last week Peter Norman died and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were his pall bearers-just at Peter Norman had supported them 38 years ago, they supported him on his last journey. Team mates forever-friends forever.

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