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拳王阿里:迟到36年的奥运金牌

来源:天星 更新日期:2008-08-13 点击:

From King of the Olympic Village to Sportsman of the Century: Muhammad Ali and the Olympics

Muhammad Ali's relationship with the Olympics spans over 30 turbulent and glorious years. It is the greatest of all sports stories.
He came to the 1960 games as the unknown Cassius Clay and the signs of what to come were there. If you watch footage of his bouts in the games , you can see the origins of the "Ali shuffle" and the expertise and speed in the ring that later characterized his professional career and thrilled audiences worldwide.

But there was more. News came from the 1960 Olympic Village of Clay telling all the athletes he met "Don't you forget. I am the greatest". Once again, the Olympics gave us a taste of the future. Clay wooed the other Olympians and the media with his warmth, intelligence, wit, poetry and puns, becoming "King of the Olympic Village" with a display of charm which we would all come to know and love in later years.

However, on returning to America a hero in 1960, a restaurant refused to serve the fighter because of the colour of his skin. Clay threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River in disgust. This was the start of his long stand against racism in America.

Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he became a Muslim in 1964. In his professional career Ali redefined heavyweight boxing with his speed and sublimely skillful performances in engrossing fights against Liston, Foreman and Frazier. Watching the graceful Muhammad Ali fight can silence critics who unfairly criticise boxing as being a brutal, mindless sport.

But he was more than a unique boxer. Since 1960 we have seen Ali the comedian and wit, psyching out opponents with quips such as "If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologise"; Ali the peace protestor and civil rights activist, refusing on principle to fight in the Vietnam war and being banned from fighting by his own nation when he was in his prime; Ali the lecturer on civil rights, touring American campuses and enthralling the public with his charisma. The fighter became a symbol of black America and the struggle for equal rights:

"I 'm not fighting one man. I'm fighting a lot of men, showing a lot of them, here is one man they couldn't defeat, couldn't conquer. My mission is to bring freedom to 30m black people".

And after he retired, we have seen Ali the statesman, negotiating for the release of hostages in Iraq, Ali as a icon of the Muslim faith in an age of religious paranoia and Ali the survivor, battling Parkinson's disease with dignity. Above all, we have witnessed Ali the humanitarian.

Muhammad Ali symbolises what sport can achieve. He was, simply, the Sportsman of the Century, and signs of his greatness were there in the Olympics of 1960.

In 1996, Olympic officials gave Ali a new medal in Atlanta, USA to replace the one he threw away in Ohio as a disgusted and principled 18 year old. In some ways it was an apology for how America made him a sporting, cultural, and social outcast in the 60s. The remarkable story of Muhammad Ali and the Olympics came to an end in true Ali fashion, with The Greatest winning gold on his terms.

拳王阿里与奥运之间的故事经历了30多年的风风雨雨,至今仍是流传不朽的伟大传奇。

1960年,当时年仅18岁默默无闻的阿里(当时他的名字是Cassius Clay)参加奥运比赛并初现锋芒。如果你仔细观察他当时比赛的步法,你或会看到著名的“阿里快步”的雏形,还有之后令他享誊拳坛和世界的超快速度和独特打法。

除此之外,1960年的奥运村,大家都记住了那个叫Clay的小伙子的豪言壮语-“你们不要忘记,我是最棒的”。奥运会再次成为一颗未来之星的摇篮。当年,Clay以他的热情,智慧,机敏和富于诗意的话语,征服了媒体,被各大报章誉为“奥运村之王”。他的个人魅力多年后仍被大家津津乐道。

然而,当他载誉归来,回到美国时,当地的一家饭馆因为他是黑人而拒绝为他提供服务。Clay气愤之余,把自己的奥运金牌直接扔进了奔流的俄亥俄河,并从此走上了反对种族歧视的斗争之路。

1964年,Clay改名为阿里,并皈依伊斯兰教。在他的职业拳坛生涯中,他以自己的速度和令人眼花缭乱的拳法彻底改写了重量级拳击在人们心目中的印象,也赢得了与里斯顿,弗里曼和弗雷泽的几场重要比赛。阿里在场上优美的姿态让那些曾评价拳击是一种野蛮,不动脑子的运动的媒体哑口无言。

但阿里的过人之处并不仅仅在拳击上。从六十年代起,我们不仅看到阿里用幽默的方式打击对手,放出“如果你梦想打败我,你最好从梦中醒来,直接跟我道歉”之类的狂言。他还是和平与人权运动的积极分子,公开反对美国政府的越战政策,甚至因此而在巅峰时期被政府禁赛。阿里的足迹遍布美国各大院校,发表巡回演讲,宣传人权,用自己的人格魅力,积极为美国黑人的平等权力而努力,他由此成为美国种族平等运动的代表性人物。

“我不仅面对一个人战斗。我面对的是一大群人,虽然他们人数众多,但这里有一个不可击败,不能征服的人。为美国三千万黑人带来自由是我的使命。”

从拳坛退役后,阿里投身政治,积极为伊拉克人质斡旋。在伊斯兰国家心中,阿里就是他们信仰之所在,他还是一个顽强的人,一直充满尊严地与帕金森病斗争。所有这些,让我们看到阿里身上闪烁的人性的光辉。

阿里的一生完美地诠释了体育精神,1960年他在奥运会上展现了自己精湛的体育才能,他当之无愧地被评选为“本世纪最伟大的运动员”

1996年,国际奥委会的官员在亚特兰大为阿里颁发了一块新的奖牌,以代替当年他愤然扔进河水中的那块金牌。从某种程度上说,这是对美国60年代对他的不公正待遇的一种道歉。阿里与奥运会的故事以阿里的方式画上了圆满的句号,阿里的坚持让我们看到“本世纪最伟大运动员”为自己羸得了一枚真正的奥运金牌。

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