Tag Archives: Mexico

The other man on the podium

BBC News Magazine

The other man on the podium

By Caroline Frost


When Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a gloved Black Power salute on the Olympic podium in October 1968 it sent a shockwave through sport. But what happened to the other man on the platform?
At the Mexico Olympics, two black Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, won gold and bronze medals in the 200m final, and used their time on the victory podium to protest with a Black Power salute.
The photograph of the two men with their heads bowed, each of them with an arm raised in the air and a fist clothed in a black leather glove, is one of the most striking images of the 20th Century.
Their actions caused havoc at the Games, ensuring the pair were ejected from the US Olympic team. But three men won medals in that race, and the consequences for the third athlete on the podium would be every bit as significant.
The silver medallist was a laid-back Australian, an up-and-coming runner called Peter Norman who, in the words of his coach, “blossomed like a cactus” when he got to Mexico. While observers expected the Americans to make a clean sweep of the 200m medals, Norman kept them interested by breaking the world record in the heats.

An apprentice butcher from Melbourne, he had learned to run in a pair of borrowed spikes. More significantly, he had grown up in a Salvation Army family, with a set of simple but strong values instilled from an early age.
As his nephew Matt Norman, director of the film, Salute, remembers: “The whole Norman family were brought up in the Salvos, so we knew we had to look after our fellow man, but that was about it.”
In Mexico, that was enough for Norman, who felt compelled to join forces with his fellow athletes in their stand against racial inequality.

Norman was one of Australia’s foremost athletes but was ostracised
The three were waiting for the victory ceremony when Norman discovered what was about to happen. It was Norman who, when John Carlos found he’d forgotten his black gloves, suggested the two runners shared Smith’s pair, wearing one each on the podium.
And when, to the crowd’s astonishment, they flung their fists in the air, the Australian joined the protest in his own way, wearing a badge from the Olympic Project for Human Rights that they had given him.
The repercussions for Norman were immediate. Seen as a trouble-maker who had lent a hand to those desecrators of the Olympic flag, he was ostracised by the Australian establishment. Despite qualifying 13 times over and being ranked fifth in the world, he was not sent to the following Munich games, where Australia had no sprinter for the first time in the Olympics. Norman retired soon afterwards without winning another title.
Divorce and ill health all weighed down on him over the next few years. He suffered depression, drank heavily and grew addicted to painkillers after a lengthy hospital stay. During that time, he used his silver medal as a door-stop.
One of the things that kept him going was the hope that he would be welcomed and recognised at the Sydney Olympics. As his nephew puts it: “Then his life would have come full circle.”

He was to be disappointed. In 2000, Peter Norman found himself the only Australian Olympian to be excluded from making a VIP lap of honour at the Games, despite his status as one of the best sprinters in the home country’s history.
But the US athletics team were not going to ignore this omission. They invited Norman to stay at their own lodgings during the games, and welcomed him as one of their own. In an extraordinary turn of events, it was hurdling legend Ed Moses who greeted him at the door, and that year’s 200m champion Michael Johnson who hugged him, saying: “You are my hero.”
In 2004, Peter’s nephew Matt started work on Salute, a documentary that, for the first time, brought all three athletes together in a room to tell their story of that day in Mexico.
Two years later, Peter had just seen the film for the first time and was about to embark on a publicity tour to the US when he had a heart attack and died. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, to whom he had always stayed close, travelled to Melbourne to act as pallbearers at his funeral, and remember their friend.

“Peter didn’t have to take that button [badge], Peter wasn’t from the United States, Peter was not a black man, Peter didn’t have to feel what I felt, but he was a man,” says Carlos. “He was that committed, and I didn’t know that,” adds Smith.
In 2004, a 23ft statue honouring Smith and Carlos was erected in San Jose State University. This huge replica shows each of them with their fists in the air, just as they stood four decades ago in Mexico.

The place for the silver medallist is empty. It is where students and tourists stand to have their picture taken, when they want to take their place in sporting history.
In the film now being shown all over Australia, the absent athlete reflects on his legacy.
“I’m a firm believer that in a victory ceremony for the Olympics, there’s three guys that stand up there, each one’s been given about a square metre of God’s earth to stand on, and what any one of the three choose to do with his little square metre at that stage is entirely up to him.
“If it hadn’t been for that demonstration on that day, it would have just been another silver medal that Australia picked up along the line. No one would ever have heard of Peter Norman.”













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More on the Church of Christ and East Kilbride (via the Daily Record)

Revealed: Blogger from the slums of Mexico says Scotland is a dark and Godless country as she tries to influence pupils

7 Sep 2013  

EVELYN Galvan Gracianom describes teaching Spanish lessons at Kirktonholme Primary School where she works as an unpaid classroom assistant to help her spread the Church of Christ’s message to pupils.

 Evelyn believes god chose her to work for the church
Evelyn believes god chose her to work for the church


A BLOG written by a Church of Christ disciple lays bare the sect’s attitude to Scotland – and how they attempt to foist their extremist views on to children.

The blog is written by Evelyn Galvan Gracianom – who the sect have based in East Kilbride 5000 miles from her home in the poverty-blighted Mexican city of Leon.

Her entries give a terrifying insight into the gulf in thinking between the right-wing, gay-hating, evangelical church and people in Scotland.

And it is clear that she herself may have been indoctrinated by the sect after one of their missionaries befriended her family in Leon, a teeming urban sprawl of 1.5million people, 200 miles north of Mexico City.

Statistics compiled in 2010 by Mexico’s council for the evaluation of social development Policy say an estimated 600,000 people in the city live in poverty.

Evelyn's blog
Evelyn’s blog
So it’s not suprising that 22-year-old Evelyn has become so devoted to a sect which helped her travel the world.

So swayed is she by the sect that she is convinced that only 600 people in Scotland are proper Christians – out of our 5million strong population.

Worryingly, she nonchantly describes teaching Spanish lessons at Kirktonholme Primary School where she works as an unpaid classroom assistant to help her spread the sect’s message to pupils.

Talking of living in East Kilbride, Evelyn writes: “Even though they are very friendly and nice, they have a really closed minded way to think or at least about God.

“This country was funded as a Christian nation but today the reality is other, most of the people don’t have a firm belief and most of them are either atheist or agnostic.

Evelyn's views on Scotland
Evelyn’s views on Scotland


 “There are Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses, Baptist, between others.

“But I know thanks to some friends’ research that out of 5.1million people only around 600 are actual Christians or at least Church of Christ members, which is tragic.

“Because a nation that claimed to be Christian a few centuries ago, today is a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus.”

She goes into great detail about her routine at the school. Evelyn writes: “Every Monday and Wednesday some of my teammates and I volunteer in Kirktonholme Primary School, we are in different classes.

“On Monday I am usually in the morning with primary four. After lunch I am in a therapy class where I take some kids from different classes so they can learn how to interact with other kids.

“On Wednesday I have a busier day. I start with the kids in primary seven then again I help in language class.”

It appears from the blog that she and a colleague, called Rafael, are left alone with pupils to teach them Spanish – and preach about their extremist religious beliefs.

She says: “I have a Spanish class for the primary four kids, and we have around 30 kids; that’s not all, actually there were about 60 kids wanting to join the class but we only could take 30.

“They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn. Hopefully at least we can let the kids know who Jesus is, and maybe someday that seed that we have planted can be grown by God.”

Evelyn also talks about a church-led Monday night kids’ club which aims to get children into the sect’s beliefs through football and game-playing.

She says: “We get together in the community hall where we usually gather to worship on Sundays, to have a night where older teens and young adults can come to hang out.

“The purpose to this club is to get to know younger folk and be able to bring new members to the church.

“We just started but we got a couple people already coming, please pray for us and that God blesses this new ministry. We usually have a craft club on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, along with free guitar classes that one of our church members gives.

“Basically we have some kids and we make some crafts with them, just like the youth club and seventy times 7 club, it’s to give kids a place to go – also it gives us the chance to influence them.”

Also online is her account of how she came to be in Scotland – which will many will find disturbing reading.

She says: “I grew up and studied most of my life in a Catholic school.

“But thanks to God, and for what he had planned for me and my family, we got to the Church of Christ in 2006.”

She reveals her family were recruited by one of the “missionaries” whose ranks she has now joined.

Evelyn writes: “This guy later came back to Leon as an AIMer (Adventures in Mission worker) to work with the church.

“My sister and I started taking Biblical classes in English with some of the AIMers, and after a few months I got more involved in the church and with the members in the congregation.

“After several months, I took the decision to give my life to Christ. And since then I have been a part of the Church of Christ.”

Evelyn was initially reluctant to commit to travelling on the church’s behalf – but she was talked into it and was sent to the city of Lubbock in Texas to be “trained”.

She says: “I started to work and spend time with the AIMers and missionaries that came to Leon, and they encouraged me to think about AIM.

“We talked about it, prayed, saw the possibilities and opportunities that I had, because I wasn’t sure about my decision.

“But as always, God intervened. Through the missionaries and their contacts, I got the support that is required for living in Lubbock during our training time.

“In that moment I saw that God is in control of all situations, so I decided to go to AIM.

“Now I am serving faithfully in East Kilbride, Scotland, with the Church of Christ here.”

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Superhero Priest

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September 5, 2013 · 10:10

Mexican Jews

Sid and Max were sitting in a Mexican restaurant.

Sid asked Max, “Are there any Jews in Mexico”?

I don’t know,” Sid replied. “Why don’t we ask the waiter?”

When the waiter came by, Max asked him, “Are there any Mexican Jews?”

“I don’t know Señor, let me ask,” the waiter replied, and he went into the kitchen.

He returned in a few minutes and said, “No, Señor. No Mexican Jews.”

“Are you sure?” Max asked.

“I will check again, Señor,” the waiter replied and went back to the kitchen.

While he was still gone, Sid said, “I cannot believe there are no Jews in Mexico. Our people are scattered everywhere.”

When the waiter returned he said, “Señor, no Mexican Jews.”

Are you really sure?” Max asked again. “I cannot believe there are no Mexican Jews.”

“Señor, I asked everyone,” the waiter replied exasperated. “We have Orange Jews, Prune Jews, Tomato Jews and Grape Jews, but no one ever heard of Mexican Jews!”

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Electric Chair

OLE, SVEN, and LARS decide they are going to Mexico for a  vacation. They get falling down drunk and wake up in jail and find out they  have been sentenced to die in the electric chair.

SVEN is the first to be strapped in the electric chair and the guards ask if he has any last words.

Sven says, “I yust graduated from St. John’s College in Minnisota, with a  degree in divinity studies, and I am a good Christian man…. but if it is God’s will for me to die, so be it.” The guards throw the switch and  nothing happens. The guards get on their knees and say, “You are surely a Godly man and we are going to let you go.”

LARS is next to be strapped into the electric chair and the guards ask if he has any last words. Lars says, “I yust graduated from Concordia college in Moorhead,  Minnisota, with a degree in divinity studies, and I am a God fearing man.

If it is my time to die, it is God’s will.” The guards throw the switch and nothing happens. The guards say, “You also are a Godly man and we are  going to let you go.”

OLE is the last to be strapped into the electric chair. The guards ask him if he has any last words. Ole says,  “Vel, I yust graduated from South Dakota Tech in electrical engineering….and I’ll tell ya right now, if you don’t plug dat ting in, it ain’t gonna work.”


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