Thursday 8 December 2016

Mary Davis: When 'The Champ' came to Ireland in 2003, we were more than special

Global CEO of Special Olympics Mary Davis remembers 'The Champ' when he came to Ireland for the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Mary Davis

Published 11/06/2016 | 02:30

Britain’s power lifter Gary Haynes, left, with Muhammad Ali at the 2003 Special Olympics in Dublin Picture: Reuters/Paul McErlane
Britain’s power lifter Gary Haynes, left, with Muhammad Ali at the 2003 Special Olympics in Dublin Picture: Reuters/Paul McErlane

It was a beautiful balmy evening in Croke Park on June 21, 2003. After years of preparation, it was finally here. The opening ceremony of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games and 'The Champ' was in our corner.

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I can still hear the roars of 80,000 people as Muhammad Ali entered the stadium. He was adored and the euphoric crowd let him know it. If there was a roof, it would have been lifted.

His passing has reawakened in me those memories of being in the presence of a genuine champion in every sense.

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