Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) 1960 Olympics

Ali: His Olympics Story

Still as Cassius Clay, with an impressive amateur record of over 100 victories, shortly after he graduated high school he headed off to Italy to compete in the Olympics.

On September 5, 1960, he was being inaugurated with the gold medal winner for boxing. While many of the other young fighters who grew up with him saw him as an exceptional boxer with an outlandish gift within the ring, they also saw him as somebody with mental prowess who could dominate before even stepping through the ropes.

He had an ability to brag and belittle his opponents, not just in word, but also with his hands and feet once they stepped into the ring and the bell rang.

For a small town boy from Louisville, Kentucky, winning the Olympic gold medal established him on the world stage. People immediately recognized him wherever he would go.

According to his wife of 24 years, Lonnie Ali, the Olympics helped to shape the next wave of his career: the professional one. “Coming from a little town such as Louisville, Kentucky, and meeting people from around the world at the Olympics was something huge … To actually compete with them probably established in his mind that he was … probably not better than he thought, but better than others thought.”