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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.


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。









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