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Mohamed Ali

Date de naissance: 17. janvier 1942
Date de décès: 3. juin 2016

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Muhammad Ali — nom couramment retranscrit en français Mohamed Ali ou Mohammed Ali — né le 17 janvier 1942 à Louisville, au Kentucky, et mort le 3 juin 2016 à Scottsdale, en Arizona, est un boxeur américain évoluant en catégorie poids lourds,. Né sous le nom de Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., il le change en Mohamed Ali à l'âge de 22 ans après avoir rejoint la Nation de l'Islam en 1965 au moment de sa conversion à l'islam.

Considéré comme une icône culturelle, Mohamed Ali a été à la fois adulé et vilipendé.

Il remporte à 18 ans la médaille d'or des poids mi-lourds aux Jeux olympiques de Rome 1960. En 1967, trois ans après avoir remporté le championnat du monde des poids lourds face à Sonny Liston, il est critiqué pour son refus d'être enrôlé dans l'armée américaine par opposition à la guerre du Vietnam en disant : « Aucun Vietcong ne m'a jamais traité de nègre ». Mohamed Ali est arrêté et reconnu coupable de fraude. Il n'est pas emprisonné, mais dépossédé de son titre mondial et de sa licence de boxe. Il ne combat plus pendant près de quatre ans, jusqu'à ce que son appel soit finalement reçu par la cour suprême américaine.

Surnommé The Greatest, Mohamed Ali devient le premier triple champion du monde poids lourds. Il a participé à plusieurs combats de boxe historiques. Parmi ceux-ci, trois disputés contre son rival Joe Frazier sont considérés parmi les plus grands combats dans l'histoire de la boxe, ainsi que son affrontement contre George Foreman à Kinshasa dont il sort vainqueur par K.O au 8e round devant environ 100 000 spectateurs, le 30 octobre 1974. Mohamed Ali est connu pour son style de combat peu orthodoxe pour un poids lourds, incarné par son slogan « vole comme un papillon, pique comme l'abeille, oh, et vas-y cogne mon gars, cogne ! » et employant des techniques telles que le «Shuffle Ali, le « rope-dope », ainsi que la déstabilisation de ses rivaux par les mots, le « trash talking ». Grâce à ses compétences et sa personnalité hors du commun, Mohamed Ali est devenu un des athlètes les plus célèbres dans le monde entier. Intégré à l'International Boxing Hall of Fame, Ali est considéré comme l'un des plus grands boxeurs de l'histoire.

En 1999, il est couronné « Sportif du siècle » par Sports Illustrated et « Personnalité sportive du siècle » par la BBC,. Il est nommé sportif du XXe siècle par une assemblée de journalistes internationaux, précédant Pelé. Il reçoit, à Berlin en 2005, la médaille de la paix Otto Hahn,, au nom de l'Organisation des Nations unies « pour son engagement en faveur du mouvement américain contre la ségrégation et pour l'émancipation culturelle des noirs à l'échelle mondiale ». Il est décoré en 2005 de la Médaille présidentielle de la Liberté, la plus haute distinction civile aux États-Unis.

Au-delà de ses performances sportives, il atteint une notoriété inégalée chez un sportif par son goût du spectacle, sa personnalité provocatrice, ses prises de positions religieuses et politiques, puis son destin personnel. Il est atteint de la maladie de Parkinson à partir de 1984, qu'il expose devant le monde entier lorsqu'il allume la vasque olympique à Atlanta en 1996.

Il meurt le 3 juin 2016 à l'âge de 74 ans, à la suite de problèmes respiratoires.

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Citations Mohamed Ali

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„If my mind can conceive it; and my heart can believe it — then I can achieve it.“

— Muhammad Ali, The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey
Similar to a quote by Jesse Jackson, which is in turn a modification of a quote by Napoleon Hill: "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

„I hated every minute of it. But I said to myself, 'Suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion'.“

— Muhammad Ali
On training, as quoted in "Ali: Born Again!" by Pete Axthelm and Peter Bonventre, Newsweek (25 September 1978)

„This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: This is the legend of Cassius Clay, The most beautiful fighter in the world today. He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y, Of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y. The fistic world was dull and weary, But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary. Then someone with color and someone with dash, Brought fight fans a-runnin' with cash. This brash young boxer is something to see And the heavyweight championship is his destiny. "I am the Greatest" (1964) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZU_AvPPIQY

„I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. l am still learning.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done. All through my life I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested. Every step of the way I believe that God has been with me. And, more than ever, I know that he is with me now. I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. l am still learning. p. xix

„Spirituality is recognizing the divine light that is within us all. It doesn't belong to any particular religion; it belongs to everyone.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: Over the years my religion has changed and my spirituality has evolved. Religion and spirituality are very different, but people often confuse the two. Some things cannot be taught, but they can be awakened in the heart. Spirituality is recognizing the divine light that is within us all. It doesn't belong to any particular religion; it belongs to everyone. p. xvi

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„My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done. All through my life I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested. Every step of the way I believe that God has been with me. And, more than ever, I know that he is with me now. I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. l am still learning. p. xix

„We all have the same God, we just serve him differently.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: We all have the same God, we just serve him differently. Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans all have different names, but they all contain water. So do religions have different names, and they all contain truth, expressed in different ways forms and times. It doesn't matter whether you're a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew. When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family. If you love God, you can't love only some of his children. p. xvii

„When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!
I AM THE GREATEST!“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: I am the man this poem’s about, I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt. Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment, I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went. When I say two, there’s never a third, Standin against me is completely absurd. When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse, Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is! I AM THE GREATEST! "I am the Greatest" (1964)

„In a competition of love we'll all share in the victory, no matter who comes first.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: Once we realize we are all members of humanity, we will want to compete in the spirit of love. In a competition of love we would not be running against one another, but with one another. We would be trying to gain victory for all humanity. If I am a faster runner than you, you may feel bad seeing me pass you in the race, but if you know that we are both racing to make our world better, you will feel good knowing that we are racing toward a common goal, a mutual reward. In a competition of love we'll all share in the victory, no matter who comes first. p. xxiv

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„Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat,
if Liston goes back an inch farther he'll end up in a ringside seat.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat, if Liston goes back an inch farther he'll end up in a ringside seat. Clay swings with his left, Clay swings with his right, Look at young Cassius carry the fight Liston keeps backing, but there's not enough room, It's a matter of time till Clay lowers the boom. Now Clay lands with a right, what a beautiful swing, And the punch raises the Bear clean out of the ring. Liston is still rising and the ref wears a frown, For he can't start counting till Sonny goes down. Now Liston is disappearing from view, the crowd is going frantic, But radar stations have picked him up, somewhere over the Atlantic. Who would have thought when they came to the fight? That they'd witness the launching of a human satellite. Yes the crowd did not dream, when they put up the money, That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny. Poem composed prior to his match with Sonny Liston, in 1963, as quoted in "Brash Clay waxed poetic in 1963 visit to Nashville" by Bill Traughber in Nashville's The CIty Paper (4 June 2002) Variant transcription: Who would have thought, when they came to the fight, that they'd witness a launchin' of a black satellite.

„I knew I had him in the first round.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: I knew I had him in the first round. Almighty God was with me. I want everyone to bear witness, I am the greatest! I'm the greatest thing that ever lived. I don't have a mark on my face, and I upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned twenty-two years old. I must be the greatest. I showed the world. I talk to God everyday. I know the real God. I shook up the world, I'm the king of the world. You must listen to me. I am the greatest! I can't be beat! After defeating Sonny Liston for the first time (25 February 1964) as quoted in Sound and Fury : Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship (2007) by Dave Kindred, p. 58 Variant transcription: I'm the greatest thing that ever lived. I'm so great I don't have a mark on my face. I shook up the world. As quoted in "When Clay shook up the world" (24 February 2004) http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/3516241.stm

„If you love God, you can't love only some of his children.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: We all have the same God, we just serve him differently. Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans all have different names, but they all contain water. So do religions have different names, and they all contain truth, expressed in different ways forms and times. It doesn't matter whether you're a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew. When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family. If you love God, you can't love only some of his children. p. xvii

„Once we realize we are all members of humanity, we will want to compete in the spirit of love.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: Once we realize we are all members of humanity, we will want to compete in the spirit of love. In a competition of love we would not be running against one another, but with one another. We would be trying to gain victory for all humanity. If I am a faster runner than you, you may feel bad seeing me pass you in the race, but if you know that we are both racing to make our world better, you will feel good knowing that we are racing toward a common goal, a mutual reward. In a competition of love we'll all share in the victory, no matter who comes first. p. xxiv

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