CLAY Cassius or MOHAMMED ALI (1942) United States / Boxing
Well before he became the greatest boxer of his time and changed his name to Mohammed Ali, Cassius Clay won the Olympic title in the middle-weight category at the 1960 Rome games. Being of a provocative nature, he was the first boxer to use television to gain recognition and he thought that on his return to the United States he would be flattered, and at the very least, respected for his achievement. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In a Kentucky town, he was refused admission to a bar reserved for whites. Greatly aggrieved by this incident, he threw the gold medal he was wearing around his neck into the Ohio river. It was never recovered.When he won the world championship in 1965, he was stripped of his title for having refused to do his military service. He won the world title back in 1974 and held on to it for six years, having defended it 22 timesLittle is heard of Mohammed Ali now. He has Parkinson's disease.Nevertheless he was the star guest at the Atlanta opening ceremony in 1996. On this occasion, he was invited to light the Olympic cauldron. He was presented with a new gold medal, to replace his lost first one.