At the turn of the half-century anniversary year of the 1968 Olympic Games, George Forman himself addresses the IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) threat to remove amateur boxing from the Youth Olympic Games, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
‘Big’ George Foreman, one of the most thunderous punchers of all time, made an appeal directly to the IOC to continue amateur boxing in the Olympics. This was during celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of his own Gold medal triumph in the 1968 Olympics in Coyocan, Mexico City.
At the celebrations, George recalls the moment he realised he could become a celebrity when someone asked for his autograph in ‘68 at the Olympic Village. The first of many autographs he would give throughout his exciting and successful boxing career. George emphasised the importance and impact the Olympics had in shaping his own career and insists that amateur boxing, which has been part of the Olympics since 1904, is the very foundation of boxing and an essential building block for professional glory.
“No doubt whatsoever the Olympics was my Savior and Grace. I hope the IOC keeps amateur boxing in the Olympics for many years to come! We`ve been the most famous to box. We`ve made boxing come alive all over the World and the IOC should think twice!
“In the Olympic Village we were so tremendously proud to have one identity, and that was the colour of our flags, showing where we were from and what we truly represented. It is just a wonderful this celebration of the fiftieth anniversary is in Mexico where boxing is so important. I so love it.
“Winning the Gold Medal in the Olympics defined my life as an athlete, and all this time later, the fans are still here cheering me! Without that Gold Medal, there would never have been George Foreman, lean, mean presenting that grilling machine.
“Winning Gold in 1968 was a dream come true for me as a teenager and as long as I live I`ll never forget that. Whenever I have big dreams, my heart always comes back to Mexico City and the Olympics! And our Trainer Henry “Pappy” Gault telling me: “Use that left jab, George. Jab, jab, jab!” It also gave me the confidence to spar with Sonny Liston. He`s the only man who ever stood up to me!”