Sports history in Black: An Olympic gold medal goes to Cassius Clay  

By Mike Patton

NABJ Black News & Views

Before he was Muhammad Ali, he was Cassius Clay.

Cassius Clay, also known as Muhammad Ali, with trainer Joe E. Martin in 1960. Photo credit: The Courier-Journal
Cassius Clay, also known as Muhammad Ali, with trainer Joe E. Martin in 1960. Photo credit: The Courier-Journal

The Louisville, Kentucky, native was a talented boxer growing up and he defeated enough opponents to make the U.S. Olympic team in 1960. His validation happened for his selection to the team on Sept. 5, 1960. He defeated three-time European champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland by a unanimous points decision. With this win, the young Clay received his first gold medal.

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