Of all the Olympians produced by Kentucky, Louisvillians Muhammad Ali and Mary Terstegge Meagher stand above the rest.
Ali won his gold medal by winning the light heavyweight championship in the 1980 Olympic Games in Rome. As Cassius Clay, the Louisville Central graduate defeated Poland’s Ziggy Pietrzykowski.
Mary T., a product of Sacred Heart Academy, was denied her first chance at ever-lasting glory when President Jimmy Carter ordered the Americans to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
But in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Mary T. not only won three gold medals but she accomplished all three in world-record time in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay.
Mary T. retired after winning the bronze in the 1988 Seoul Games.
Ali reigned as the world’s heavyweight three different times, 1964-‘67, ‘74-‘78 and ‘78-‘79
But both Ali and Mary T. probably are most remembered for tear-jerking roles opening the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Both were prominent in the procession to light the Olympic flame, with Ali doing the honor by himself.
The Olympics open in two weeks in London.