By James Montague, CNN
(CNN) – It is perhaps the most iconic sports photograph ever taken.
Captured at the medal ceremony for the men's 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, U.S. sprinter Tommie Smith stands defiantly, head bowed, his black-gloved fist thrust into the thin air.
Behind him fellow American John Carlos joins with his own Black Power salute, an act of defiance aimed at highlighting the segregation and racism burning back in their homeland.
It was an act that scandalized the Olympics. Smith and Carlos were sent home in disgrace and banned from the Olympics for life. But they were treated as returning heroes by the black community for sacrificing their personal glory for the cause. History, too, has been kind to them.
Yet few know that the man standing in front of both of them, the Australian sprinter Peter Norman who shocked everyone by powering past Carlos and winning the silver medal, played his own, crucial role in sporting history.