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Olympic Games & Sports for Peace honouring Muhammad Ali

The Olympic Games are a celebration of values and humanity. The 2012 Summer Olympics start today, with an opening ceremony held at 9pm London time for more than 1 billion viewers around the globe. We encourage you to watch especially the end part, as the founder of Cinema for Peace Jaka Bizilj has prepared together with the director of Ceremonies of the Olympic Games Stephen Daldry a surprise for the global public in connection with the issue of peace & justice and a very special honorary guest.

The most memorable moment of modern Olympic history was probably in 1996, when Muhammad Ali lighted the Olympic fire in Atlanta. On the occasion of the Olympic Games in London, Sports for Peace hosted a special Gala on July 25 honoring Ali.  Sports idols such as Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, tennis legend Boris Becker, the world champion in heavyweight boxing Wladimir Klitschko, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Christopher Lee and the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda presented Muhammad Ali’s core values. "Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all time. The greatest living sportsman. To be in his presence one more time is a big honour and a privilege”, the 3-time Wimbledon-winner Becker said. “From an athlete he became a peacemaker, he became a global warrior and just a spokesperson for the right causes".

Sports for Peace aims at promoting the Olympic ideals of freedom and intercultural understanding and was created during the preliminary stages of the Olympic Games in Bejing 2008 in response to the question whether sport or major sporting events could be obliged to common ideals, following a discussion with Richard Gere in 2007 and joint Cinema for Peace-initiatives in regards of Tibet and China.

The Sports for Peace Gala event raised funds for the educational Muhammad Ali Center and for research into Parkinson's disease. Ali has battled the degenerative brain condition for almost 30 years and only makes rare public appearances, this was his first travel abroad for 3 years, after actress Michelle Yeoh had helped to secure adequate transportation.

Cinema for Peace long time partner Sir Bob Geldof said Ali was the rare athlete who had made a difference in the world in the fields of sports, peace and humanity. "Muhammad Ali was intensely political, and changed the whole agenda," Geldof said. "He did it with the same bravery he did in the ring".

Muhammad Ali was prepared to give up his career and to go to prison instead of going to war in Vietnam. He was initially sentenced to 5 years in prison, was stripped his world-championship title and not allowed to fight and make a living for 3,5 years.

The reigning world champion in heavyweight boxing and 10-year-comittee-member of Cinema for Peace Wladimir Klitschko: "Muhammad, you are the best of all time, you are the Greatest and we love you".




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