LONDON—Australian boxer Damien Hooper could be punished for entering the Olympic boxing arena on Monday wearing a T-shirt bearing the colors of the Aboriginal flag.

The 20-year-old light heavyweight, who should have emerged from the tunnel dressed in a red singlet, said he did not regret the gesture.

“I’m an Aborigine representing my culture and my people here at the Olympic Games,” said Hooper.

Hooper, the first indigenous Australian boxer to triumph at a junior world title level when he won Youth Olympics Gold in 2010, was ambivalent about being punished for his gesture.

“I didn’t say I didn’t care,” said the fighter.

In the ring on Monday, he pulled off one of his best ever victories, beating America’s Marcus Browne — the first defeat for the United States at the boxing in these Games — 13-11 to set up a second round clash with Russian fourth seed Igor Mekhontcev.

Hooper, who was a tearaway in his youth before being introduced to boxing by a policeman, is not the first Australian athlete of indigenous origin to fly the Aboriginal colours.

Australian athletics legend Cathy Freeman celebrated her 1994 Commonwealth Games victory in the 200 meters by performing her lap of honor carrying both the Australian and Aboriginal flags.

Undeterred by heavy criticism from Commonwealth officials, and her own team president Arthur Tunstall, she repeated the gesture a few days later after winning the 400m in Victoria, Canada.

The flag, though, was flown at several Olympic venues at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney after heavy lobbying by the National Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Spectators were also allowed to bring them into stadia for events under special dispensation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Under IOC rules no flags can be brought into stadia of nations not competing at the Games, but with the Aboriginal flag they waived the rule.

Its colours red, yellow and black represent the earth, the sun and Aborigines respectively. (SOURCE)

Aussie boxer Damien Hooper in his Aboriginal flag t-shirt, which has sparked controversy in London.

Responses to "Olympics: Australian boxer causes Aborigine stir"

  1. martinbg says:

    Couldn't that punishment be recognized as fashistic one?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It amazes me Australians have never cared about an Aboriginal (first Australian) unless they are famous. I believe we now have an indiginous side in the nrl, maybe it is about time Aboriginal people should be able to walk into an olympic games flying their flag showing the world they survived the English invasion.

  3. So... really the Olympics are about Imperialism and Commonwealth or "Common Wealth". As a white Irish/Scots descended Canadian I honour Aboriginal (Australian) boxer Damien Hoope for wearing the the colours that truly represent his people. He is representing both his people and his country. Let his People get the recognition while, once again, the county gets to take the gold, silver or bronze.

  4. Unknown says:

    In reply to Robert,
    I'm Irish and great that an Aboriginal win happened in LONDON of all places!
    It's upsetting that Irish & Scottish athletes are in included w/ Great Britain.
    How that that be changed?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what would have happened had the Iroquois National Team made the Olympics and won a medal? What flag and anthem would have been played? Hmmmm.

  6. Unknown says:

    Let us rise as a people and prove to our selves what true humble and humanitarian love is all about. I am proud of his stance. Objection is sheer ignorance and intolerance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    OK OK, Indigenous....sickens me how many 'white' folk with an extremely distant heritaged past beckon the limelight and distinction of their ancestors.
    Is only since the passing of Indigenous Law that so many with the miniscule hint of being with such heritage pop into being and accept the gratuitousness nature of the Australian Government (Tax Payers)

    Yes, you may call me racist, but am not such, but feel we are all part of this great country and along history it has proved to been so beneficial to the wanting.

    I do congratulate this lad and wish I could do the same, but why flaunt with what has become such a radical problem worldwide.

    I believe it is for the country they choose to reside in that should be exhibited after such a winning challenge. Good on you Damien.

  8. Unknown says:

    The win is heroic. Doubly so, simple defiant act to symbolically promote a greater human understanding. I think it demonstrates also heroic creativity & decision making. Sometimes outdated silly rules made by who knows who in whatever year, if not tested, will only help the human race evolve into robots.

  9. Unknown says:

    and even if a person has not 1% of indigenous blood, if their level of awareness is superior, their allows entry of the vibrations here on earth by many races, some extinct. Generations of humans who's passionate will to live, brought about un-confined colors and significant traditions- based upon respect for the Earth, our home.

  10. Unknown says:

    and.. regarding the mention of the "Iroquois." It is an ignored fact, that countless nations exist within the United States. How blatant.. in some states.. where casinos are illegal on "American Soil," plenty of non-indigenous cross into "non-American" soil.. onto reservations.. where the Casinos are allowed, because not considered "American Soil." How's that for ironic? A child would find it obvious, but the elite of the sophisticated 1st world.. are in denial of this fact.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Any "Native American reserve or reservation is considered "Tribal Lands and Sovern Nations in there own right out side the Constitution of US. with their own laws and forms of government, there should be no confusion or inronisim in that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    it has been proven by d.n.a that aboriginal's originated from india and by boat or what ever floated so they can wave the indian flag next time and not american idian's either.]call me a racist or whatever they seem to get a buzz out of pulling the racist card . it's all want want want. we have nothing to apologise to them for whatever happened 200 yrs ago.

  13. Unknown says:

    The jab is one of the most powerful punches in boxing when you need to attack your opponent face to face. You need to extend your elbow straightforward balancing your shoulder. Boxing in Connecticut

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