21 JUL 2020
On the occasion of a visit to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today, Bernie Ecclestone, the former Chief Executive of the Formula One group, donated to the IOC the iconic original torch with which Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium at the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996.
Bernie Ecclestone and Thomas Bach (IOC Greg Martin)
“Personally, it was a great honour finding this unique torch, and there is no better place for it to be than at the IOC,” said Ecclestone.
“This torch is an icon of the Olympic Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach when receiving the artefact.
“I think everybody in the Olympic Movement still has this image of Muhammad Ali, when he was already suffering from the beginning of his Parkinson’s disease, standing there in those very touching moments, proudly holding the Olympic torch and then lighting the flame.”
“To have this unique torch at the IOC is something very special. I would like to thank Mr Ecclestone from the bottom of my heart,” said Bach.
This donation comes just a few days after the 136th IOC Session, during which IOC President Bach recalled the attachment of “The Greatest” to the idea of solidarity by quoting the Olympic champion, who had the Olympic flag as one of just two flags flying at his funeral: “I have learned that whatever time we spend on earth should be spent helping others and creating justice and equality for all people, not out of pity or shame, but out of love for all people with the knowledge that we belong not to many races but to one race – the human race.”
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