A select group of athletes come to define their sport. But for the truly transcending, an impression is felt far beyond the confines of mere competition.
For Muhammad Ali, who was born on this day in 1942, the latter scenario was at play. The loquacious American died last June with a reputation secured as the 20th century’s most significant and celebrated sports figure.
This imposing and polarising competitor first came to attention by winning gold in boxing at the 1960 Olympics.
His graceful ability lifted him to world heavyweight glory, before a conversion to Islam and subsequent stand against the war in Vietnam saw him waylaid.
An outstanding comeback followed with the “Fight of the Century”, “Thrilla in Manilla” and “Rumble in the Jungle”, before his greatest personal fight came with the dehabilitating Parkinson’s disease.
More sport stars born on this day:
1940: Kipchoge Keino, Kenyan two-time middle-distance Olympic gold medallist (77).
1974: Derrick Mason, a retired 15-season veteran of the NFL who was a two-time Pro Bowler (43).
1982: Dwyane Wade, shooting guard who claimed three NBA championships with Miami Heat (35).
1988: Will Genia, outstanding Australia rugby union scrum-half who now plays for Stade Francais (29).
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