World Olympians Mourn the Loss of Muhammad Ali

5 | 6 | 2016

The World Olympians Association has joined the world in mourning the loss of global icon Muhammad Ali.

The Olympic champion, who won gold at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games and went on to achieve international fame as both a boxer and a pacifist, passed away on Friday in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 74.

As the three-time heavyweight champion of the world, Ali inspired millions across the globe and his personality and courage to stand up for what he believed in that set him apart as a legend. In later life Ali touched the hearts of many when he overcame his debilitating illness to light the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Joël BouzouPresident of the World Olympians Association, said:

“The World Olympians Association joins theOlympic Family in mourning the loss of sporting icon Muhammad Ali. He was an inspiration to many around the globe, demonstrating a strength of spirit both in and out of the ring that distinguished him as a sportsman and a legend.

“Few who saw Ali fight could doubt his prowess as an athlete and an Olympic Champion. As an Olympian he symbolised all that is good in sport, embodying the true values of Olympism through his courage, compassion, tolerance and pursuit of peace.

“He is rightly remembered as the greatest boxer of our time and his legacy will live on forever. We would like to express our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this time.” 

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, said:

“He was an athlete who touched the hearts of people across the globe, an athlete who was engaged beyond sport, an athlete who had the courage to give hope to so many suffering illness by lighting the Olympic cauldron and not hiding his own affliction. He was an athlete who fought for peace and tolerance - he was a true Olympian.”

Nino Benvenuti, Middleweight Olympic Gold Medallist at Rome 1960, said:

"He was the greatest ever because he had not only attributes for boxers, but he was also one outstanding athlete, a superman. In the ring he had all facets of boxing and a perfect body for this sport. He also had a head full of inventive thoughts and ideas and new things to show at every meeting. "

George Foreman Olympic, Heavyweight Gold Medallist at Mexico City 1968, said:

"Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age." 

Oscar De La Hoya, Lightweight Olympic Gold Medallist at Barcelona 1992, said: 

"Muhammad Ali is a legend and one of the world's most celebrated athletes, the fighter who ushered in the golden era of boxing and put the sport on the map. He paved the way for professional fighters, including myself, elevating boxing to become a sport watched in millions of households around the world."