(ATR) It turns out the IOC does not have the torch that Muhammad Ali used to light the cauldron at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Bernie Ecclestone and Thomas Bach with Eccelstone's torch (IOC/Greg Martin)
Last week, the IOC announced that former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had donated the iconic torch for the Olympic Museum.
But the actual artifact is part of the Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, according to a report by Barry Janoff of NYSportsJournalism.com.
The Muhammad Ali Center, which runs the museum, says it was donated on loan by Muhammad Ali’s family and that they are sure it is the original torch.
Ecclestone says he bought his torch in an auction believing that it was the authentic item.
“I understood that this was the final torch of the Relay for the Atlanta Games, which was used by Muhammad Ali to light the cauldron. There was even some media coverage around the auctioning of the final Atlanta 1996 torch. I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this torch could be displayed in The Olympic Museum?' and I decided to enter the auction. Eventually, I won the bid and donated the torch to the IOC in good faith,” he said in a statement.
The IOC says “Mr Ecclestone clearly acted in good faith to make a very generous donation to the IOC. All of us thought this was the final torch signed by Muhammad Ali.”
The original report of Ecclestone’s donation of the torch has been removed from the IOC’s website along with the photo of Ecclestone and IOC President Thomas Bach seen here.
Written by Gerard Farek
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