How Muhammad Ali changed the world from outside the ring
Horrow interviews three people to discuss the life of Muhammad Ali and his impact on the world through sports, social justice and television. While it is recognised that this is a sad time after Ali’s death, it is also a time for reflection on one person’s impact on athletes, Olympians and people all over the world. After highlighting Ali’s legacies within the sporting world - drastically changing the business dynamic of sport and enticing the largest audiences globally - Wolff speaks of Ali’s achievements outside the ring.
He begins with his introduction to Ali by Richard Lapchick. After this, Wolff started to work with the Muhammad Ali Center. Based in Louisville, the organisation runs an extensive museum while creating programmes that represent their message: be great, do great things. For example, creating a mentoring initiative as many athletes credit mentors for their success. It is understood that the Muhammad Ali Center is the physical representation of Ali’s life and his values such as conviction, giving and respect.
Wolff explains how the partnership with the Muhammad Ali Centre created the Athletes and Social Change Forum in 2013. The event’s purpose is to give athletes a voice on social change in sport when otherwise they can find themselves isolated – creating a space to have conversations around the power of sport and social change while nurturing a community of such individuals. The results have been tangible actions like new programmes, organisations and policies.
Each year the forum has a different theme and 2016’s was ‘Creating a Declaration for Human Rights in Sports’ which is policy focused. It asked questions like: what policies for human rights do sports organisations have currently? How can athletes use the platforms they have to speak about human rights and social change issues?
Wolff concludes that sport goes way beyond the playing field. People in sports – players, managers, promoters, young and old – all have a responsibility for the way it influences society and to uphold ethical standards. Though Ali had a huge impact on the sporting world, he was also able to inspire people on the power of sport and social change.