Awarded: April 2000
(b. Jan. 17, 1942)
Muhammad Ali fought as an amateur (winning 100 of 108 matches) before becoming the light-heavyweight gold medallist in the 1960 Olympics. In 1964 he won the world heavyweight championship with a stunning defeat of Sonny Liston. Immediately after, the former Cassius Clay announced he was a Black Muslim and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was stripped of his title in 1967 when he refused induction into the U.S. Army on religious grounds. A few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed his right to object to military service based on those grounds. In the 1980s, Ali revealed he was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease.