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Sports Moments in Black History (pg. 2)

Muhammad Ali was the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times.
Muhammad Ali

Black History - Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree made history when he stepped on the ice to play for the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958. Willie was the first African American to play in the National Hockey League. He only played two seasons for the Bruins, because of an eye injury, but he opened the door for many other African Americans to skate in the NHL, including [kwlink]All-Star[/kwlink] Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames.


Black History - Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali called himself The Greatest and he lived up to that name by being the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times. Ali won his first title as Cassius Clay (his birth name) in 1964 by defeating Sonny Liston. Shortly after the fight, he became a Muslim and changed his name to Muhammad Ali because he believed that Cassius Clay was his "slave name." Ali was stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing to join the US Army because of his religious beliefs. He regained the title in 1974 by defeating George Foreman in Zaire in the famous Rumble in the Jungle. He snagged the title again in '78 after defeating Leon Spinks. He retired in 1981 and now raises money and awareness for Parkinson's Disease, which he suffers from.


Black History - Vonetta Flowers

Vonetta Flowers - the former track star turned Olympic bobsledder - made history at the 2002 Winter Olympics by becoming the first black athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics. Vonetta's gold medal will hopefully inspire future black athletes to become more involved in winter sports. Flowers will be defending her gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy later this month.


  • For more on great African American athletes, click here.
  • Related Stories:

  • Civil Rights Movement Timeline
  • Martin Luther King Day
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