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Statue Unveiled In Honour Of Aussie Athlete's Iconic Olympic Moment

A statue of the iconic podium protest at the 1968 Olympics has been unveiled in Melbourne, in honour of Australian athlete Peter Norman.

Athletics Australia and the Victorian Government erected the statue at Albert Park in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Peter Norman won the silver medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games setting an Australian record of 20.06 in the 200m.

The iconic sporting moment was captured in a famous photograph -- Norman stood in solidarity with American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlo.

The two black American athletes made a 'Black Power' salute to protest against racial segregation in the US and racism in sport.

Norman - himself a critic of the White Australia Policy - wore an 'Olympic Project For Human Rights' badge on the podium in solidarity with the two US athletes.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists in the 200-meter run at the 1968 Olympic Games, engage in a victory stand protest against unfair treatment of blacks in the United States. Australian Peter Norman is the silver medalist. Image: Getty

The athletes' gestures was extremely controversial and became one of the most overtly political moments in Olympic history.

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Speaking of the significance of the statue, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steve Dimopoulos said “Peter Norman made a stand for humanity 51 years ago and it is a great thing that future generations of Victorians will know his story of strength and decency.”

Norman, who passed away in 2006, remains a revered figure in athletics and human rights communities.

“We are not only proud of Peter Norman’s achievement as a champion athlete but as a champion ambassador of our sport and culture," Athletics Australia Chief Executive Darren Gocher said.

Contact the author: rbarber@networkten.com.au