Fifty years after standing in solidarity with athletes giving the black power salute, Williamstown sprinter Peter Norman will have the Newport athletics track renamed in his honour.
A plan to name it the Peter Norman Athletics Track has been taken up by Hobsons Bay council for community feedback.
Mr Norman claimed silver at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics by running 200 metres in 20.06 seconds – still an Australian record.
But he is widely remembered for his support of African American runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists in silent protest on the medal dias – a moment captured in what Time magazine called the most iconic photograph of all time.
Mr Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support and it was his suggestion that Smith and Carlos each wear one glove after they forgot to bring two pairs.
Mr Norman’s wife, Jan, who met her husband when they were both teachers at the then Williamstown Technical School, said it would be wonderful to have the Newport track named after him. He died in 2006.
“It makes me feel really proud,” she said. “I’m really rapt at the fact that it’s local.
“It’s all very well to see the statue going up at the running track at Albert Park, but it’s just lovely to have the running track at Newport named after Peter.
“I belong to the gym there, so I feel a real connection – and, being a teacher, all those sport days that I spent supervising those kids at the running track and various other functions I’ve attended. I think it’s great that it’s going to be named after Peter.”
Smith and Carlos came to Williamstown in 2006 to be pallbearers at Mr Norman’s funeral after he died from a heart attack aged 64. After the service at Williamstown Town Hall, they visited his Williamstown home.
“That was just amazing,” Ms Norman said.
“Tommie and John came back to our place after the funeral and it was amazing having them here.”