Friday, July 18, 2008

Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Peter Norman and new movie called Salute

Remember the names Tommie Smith and John Carlos? Most with a bit of gray hair will. They were the pair who raise their fists at the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City. Smith won the 200-meter race in the world record time of 19.83. In third place was another American, John Carlos. Though neither were members of the Black Panthers, each raise their fist representing Black Power on October 16, 1968.

On that stand was another man. A white Australian named Peter Norman, who placed second in a time of 20.10. Though Norman never raised his fist, he became part of an historical moment. He was, however, supportive of Smith and Carlos. He donned an Olympics Project for Human Rights badge, which was also worn by Smith and Carlos on the medal stand. The two Americans were later expelled from the Games.

It is Norman's nephew, Matt Norman, who has just released a movie called: "Salute." Norman died in October of 2006. At the funeral, Smith and Carlos were pallbearers.

While Norman's career never reach the same heights of 1968, he spent the rest of his life around sports. As for Smith and Carlos, both saw brief action as professional football players because of their speed.

According to "Speed was never Smith's problem. The lean, 6-foot-3 runner was invited to several NFL training camps in 1969 based solely on his wheels. He had scheduled a tryout with the Oakland Raiders, but former San Jose State roommate Saint Saffold, a member of the 1968 Cincinnati Bengals, talked him into coming east to try to make the Cincinnati roster." While with the Bengals, his receivers coach was a man called Bill Walsh. And his quarterback was Sam Wyche. His head coach? Paul Brown. Unfortunately, he was placed on the taxi squad to start the season. Smith was activated the final three games of the 1969 season. On Dec. 7, against the Oakland Raiders, he caught a 41-yard pass, but broke his collarbone on the landing. In 1970, his career ended on the taxi squad. His career ended with one catch while on the roster for just two games.

As for Carlos, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 15th round of the 1970 draft. He spent one season with the Eagles, but a knee injury cut short his career in the U.S. No stats were available for Carlos, so it appears he may never have played with the Eagles during the regular season. He later went to the Canadian Football League where he played for the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts.

With the nearing of 40th anniversary of the display on the medal stand in 1968, the movie "Salute" was released on July 17 in Australia. It's unclear whether it will make it to the U.S. But here is the movie trailer. Enjoy.

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