I had come second in a 200 metre sprint. A special athlete is required to run 200 metres. You have to have enough energy to push yourself through the pain barrier and sustain your speed for perhaps 50 metres more than normal athletes can. You start the race and try to get settled as quickly as possible. You try and increase your pace as you go past 100 metres and then you stretch out as much as you can and after 150 metres you push for the finish. A good 200 metre runner can make up a lot of ground over the last 50 metres.
This is virtually how my greatest triumph occurred. As we went through 100 metres the two fastest runners had been about 2 metres clear and the favourite was able to even increase his speed for 10 metres or so. But then I was able to use my latent strength and started to make up ground on them both. I made up a lot of ground the last 50 metres and I was able to pass one but not the other. I came second. I wasn’t displeased. I was happy.
My mistake was that I liked the other two place getters and made a pact with them that from then on we would always be friends. I would stand with them no matter what. They wanted to stand together at the prize giving ceremony to make a statement and I said I would stand with them. The showed me respect by actually telling me what they planned to do. I said we would all stand together. And I did stand with them. I supported their stand. I didn’t exactly say this to anyone else but I did to them. I had made a pact with them. This was a personal thing but somehow the people in authority took offence at this. Not that they said anything threatening to me at the time. But it was reported in the press that they were ashamed of my actions.
Four years later I was excluded from the team. I was considered to be in the top five runners for the 200 metres but I was not picked. When I objected and pointed out the lack of logic in not picking someone who was ranked in the top five they responded by saying OK we will not pick anyone who is ranked below fourth in the world. And they did this. The team was greatly reduced by this action but they did it. They made no explanation for their actions. But they were not questioned by anyone who should have questioned them.
Why they treated me like this has never been explained. When I heard that I was definitely not in the team I retired. I turned my back completely. I had had enough. I was being punished for acting morally by people whom were immoral. I didn’t mind saying this. In my private life I had an obligation to act morally at all times and I tried my best to live up to this creed. I often wondered if me being a Salvation Army Officer might have influenced their behavior but it is probably because I said I opposed the white Australia policy. This is not logical but again there is nothing logical in the sequence of events and there is nothing logical in the deep seated racism that exists in conservative Australia.
Forty years later when there were big celebrations concerning athletics lots of people were asked to perform special tasks. That is all except me. Lots of celebrities were invited to take part – even the children of celebrities were asked to perform. People who had power pulled strings so members of their families could take part in proceedings. Celebrations were the order of the day. But not for me. I could not understand but I didn’t complain. My way of doing things was to say nothing and put my faith in a higher authority.
I was punished for treating people with dark coloured skin with respect. I treated them as human beings. As I would have treated myself. I believed in their cause. The world is racist and no one should be punished for pointing this out. I think it can be proved that I was.