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Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali

Born January 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., Muhammad Ali earned a reputation as a man dedicated to his goals and beliefs. After an illustrious boxing career—including three world heavyweight boxing championships—Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Muhammad Ali and his "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" style of fighting dominated the world of heavyweight boxing for a decade and a half. As a teenager named Cassius Clay, he won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Olympic Games. He later earned the title of world heavyweight champion, and became internationally famous for his confidence both in and out of the boxing ring. But when Ali lit the flame to open the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, his arm visibly shook as he raised the torch. The former fighter suffers from Parkinson's disease, a condition probably caused by the blows he received from opponents. Throughout his busy and sometimes controversial public life, Ali remains one of the most famous and popular athletes of the twentieth century. A consummate showman, he used to call himself "the Greatest," and many of his fans believe that the nickname fits.

Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali was raised in a middle-class neighborhood, the eldest of two sons born to Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. and Odessa (Grady) Clay. Ali's father supported his family as a sign and mural painter, while his mother worked as a domestic. Ali worshiped with his family on Sundays at Mount Zion Baptists Church and attended school with brother Rudolph Valentino Clay (now Rahaman Ali) at DuValle Junior High School and Central High School in Louisville. Ali was a rather poor student, which he blames on his preoccupat...

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...ure the release of four kidnapped Americans in Lebanon. Ali also met with leaders in the Soviet Union and Africa and founded the World Organization for Right, Liberty, and Dignity (WORLD).

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the world and his country honored Ali by choosing him to light the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies. In 1999, Ali became the first boxer to ever appear on the cover of a Wheaties box.

Ali is the father of nine children and has been married four times. He lives with his fourth wife, Yolanda, who also acts as his manager, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. During the late 1990s, the quest of Ali's daughter, Khaliah Ali, towards a career in boxing was greatly publicized in the media. Although he has publicly expressed disapproval over women participating in the sport, Khaliah continued to follow in the footsteps of her champion father.
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