Muhammad Ali’s Lost Gold Medal is the Greatest Mystery of the Olympic Games
Muhammad Ali tossed his 1960 Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River. That's the story that's been told for decades. So is the medal lost in the muck somewhere between Kentucky and Indiana or is there another possible answer to the missing medal?
The legend that has come down through the years says that Ali, disgusted by the segregation he faced tossed the medal into the Ohio River from the Second Street Bridge that connects his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky with neighboring Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The trouble with the story is, no one seems to think that's what actually happened to the coveted medal.
Rather, in a fascinating segment of Curious Lousiville produced by public radio WFPL, they investigate the tale and find a few possible answers.
First, to dispel the rumor of the toss into the river, Ali's biographer says:
he didn't throw the metal into the river that the story came up essentially as a myth written in Ali's first biography, which had a ghost writer behind it, and that the ghost writer kind of spun up the story...I talked to Ali's brother who said he remembered very clearly when Ali lost the metal and started freaking out looking for it, and he said there's no way that Ali threw it in the river
The biographer and curator at Louisville's Muhammad Ali center seem to agree on two likely scenarios. Either Ali gave it away to a girlfriend as a token of affection or it was honestly, truly, innocently lost.
The location of the 1960 medal will likely remain an enduring mystery. And Ali had, at the end of his life, a second medal given to him at the 1996 Atlanta Games by the International Olympic Committee as a replacement.
Like so many of the Champ's epic wins, these are the most powerful images in the history of sports:
LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history
The mystery of the location of the 1960 Olympic Gold Medal may never be solved, these mysteries will leave you with the same longing for answers.