Sunday 25 February 2018

Muhammad Ali's family will be consulted on boxer's opening ceremony appearance at London Olympics

Paul Kelso

LONDON 2012 organisers will consult with Muhammad Ali's family before finalising what role the former world and Olympic boxing champion will play in Friday's opening ceremony.

Ali, 70, had been approached months ago to take part in the ceremony.

His deteriorating health is a major factor in discussions over his participation however.

Ali has Parkinson's disease, and while he is well enough to have travelled to London for a series of charity engagements this week, it remains to be seen what part he will play.

Reports suggest he will lead a parade of great athletes but discussions are ongoing.

Sources said it was unlikely he would be asked to light the Olympic cauldron, a role he fulfilled in Atlanta in 1996, but he seems certain to appear.

Final rehearsals for the ceremony are under way this week, with the last full run-through scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Around 40,000 people watched a rehearsal on Monday, with reaction on social media overwhelmingly positive about what they had seen.

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