Muhammad Ali wins 1960 Olympic gold medal (video)

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Before he became “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali became an Olympic champion.

Ali, who died Friday at age 74, was 18 years old when he earned a light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Already a prodigy, Sports Illustrated tapped Ali to be the only American to win boxing gold at those Games.

“Teenage Cassius Clay, who has been called another [Floyd] Patterson, was the only American to score a knockout in the Olympic trials,” the magazine wrote.

Ali proved the publication prophetic, though two other American fighters also took gold in Rome.

“The most popular U.S. win was that of lighthearted Light Heavyweight Cassius Marcellus Clay,” SI wrote afterward. “It took two rounds for Clay to solve the southpaw attack of Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski. But in the third he established instant command and toyed with the defenseless Pole. At 18, Clay was the best of our boxers in Rome, but he never caught a really hard punch. Could he take it if hurt? ‘Man,’ says Clay. ‘I don’t want ever to get hurt.'”

It would be another three-plus years until Ali beat Sonny Liston and changed his name from Cassius Clay.

Ali reportedly threw his gold medal in a river after the Rome Games (this has been disputed) but was given a replacement at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he famously lit the cauldron.

VIDEO: Janet Evans relives 1996 Olympic torch handoff to Muhammad Ali

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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