One of the greatest boxers of all time, Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, won gold at the only Olympics in which he competed – the 1960 Games in Rome. He began his professional career later that year, ruling him out of any further Olympic competition.
Clay was a strong protestor against racism in the United States as well as mandatory conscription to the army. In his 1975 autobiography he claimed that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a 'whites-only' restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. He was given a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the torch to start the games.