I will stand by you

It’s perhaps the most iconic of all sporting protests, as I noted last week...

My focus this week is on ‘the third man’.

Peter Norman
Peter Norman
Peter Norman

Peter Norman.

The Australian Silver Medallist who, wearing the the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), told the American Sprinters that ‘I will stand by you’ when they shared their plans for the protium protest. Indeed, it was Norman who suggested that Tommie Smith and John Carlos share the black gloves used in their salute; Carlos had left his pair at the Olympic Village. Hence Smith raising his right fist, while Carlos raised his left.

His story, and that of his subsequent ostracism by the Australian Authorities for his actions is briefly told in the following clip...

If you feel like learning a bit more more, this is excellent..


As a metaphor. Norman’s ‘I will stand by you’ comment is so important, in so many different ways.

The John Carlos Story

In his autobiography, Carlos writes that although he expected to see fear in Norman's eyes at the proposal for a protest, he didn't; 'I saw love.'.

A courageous act, in selfless support of others and a wider cause.


The three men remained lifelong friends, with Smith and Carlos acting as pallbearers at Norman’s funeral in 1964. A reciprocal act of unity. A reflection of what makes a friendship.

What is a friend