DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 30min
DIRECTED BY: Matt Norman
Power brokers: from left, Norman, Smith and Carlos
As the victors in the men’s 200-metre sprint stood on the victory dais at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, African Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos silently raised their fists in a Black Power salute. In a fiercely discriminatory era, the ripple effect from their gesture was an ongoing international squall. But what of the third man, Australian silver medallist Peter Norman? His nephew Matt Norman answers that with a measured, thorough documentary. Salute reprises the sociopolitical climate through a framework of to-camera commentary from the three key athletes and input from others who were there.
All the ingredients of a pivotal experience are in place: racial tension, athletic triumph, the courage to buck the system and the fellowship of one white Australian with two previously unknown men who would revere him from that day (Carlos and Smith were pallbearers at Norman’s 2006 funeral). Forty years later, the tapestry of memories is rich and vital, and Norman, the most modest of heroes, is the quiet and solid heartbeat in the centre of the frame.