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Review by Anthony Morris


Everyone knows the iconic photo of the two African-American athletes on the winner's podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics raising their fists in a black power salute. 

What you may not know is that the third (white) man on that podium was Australian sprinter Peter Norman, and this documentary, made by Peter's nephew Matt Norman, tells his story. 

Salute is an engaging and well-paced mix of history lesson (vital to explain the racially charged atmosphere surrounding the Men's 200 meter sprint finals), sports drama, and personal history. 

Peter himself retells much of the story, and while the many interviews with the two other runners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, are occasionally of rough quality (they were initially done as background material for a dramatization), the power and humour of what they say comes through clear. 

It's soon obvious that -

A): Peter was very much part of the protest alongside Smith and Carlos; and

B): Everyone on that podium paid a heavy toll career-wise for speaking out. 

The two black athlete's running careers were over the second they were sent home from the Games, and Peter (who died in 2006) never ran for Australia again, despite holding the 200 meter Commonwealth record to this day.  

By telling his story in a concise, informative and powerful way, this film is a fitting tribute to his life.

4 out of 5

Australian release: 17th July, 2008
Official Site: Salute
Cast: Christopher Kirby
Director: Matt Norman

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