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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.

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)

„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

„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

„Over the years my religion has changed and my spirituality has evolved.“

— 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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„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

„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

„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

„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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„The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.“

— Muhammad Ali
Context: Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years. As quoted in Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties (1999) by Mike Marqusee<!-- p. 213 -->; also quoted in the [http://www.isreview.org/issues/33/muhammadali.shtml International Socialist Review Issue 33 (January–February 2004)]

„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

„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 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/3516241.stm "When Clay shook up the world" (24 February 2004)]

„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. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZU_AvPPIQY "I am the Greatest" (1964)]

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