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Athletes, musicians, local leaders, and metro Atlanta residents share their memories of the games—taking home the gold, chauffeuring Muhammad Ali, collecting pins, riding MARTA, performing for Bill and Hillary Clinton, and more.
Johnnie B. Hall, the Georgia state trooper assigned to Muhammad Ali during the 1996 Olympics, remembers the moment that defined the Atlanta Games
The retired Georgia state trooper recalled the week he spent with “The Greatest,” who on Friday night died at age 74 after being treated in Phoenix hospital for respiratory complications.
The notion that Muhammad Ali—a conscientious objector who was a member of the Nation of Islam—would make his comeback in the deep South at the height of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War seemed laugh-out-loud ridiculous. But thanks to one fortuitous telephone call to a local businessman—and the political savvy of State Senator Leroy Johnson—Atlanta stunned the world by granting Ali a boxing license and playing host to his return on October 26, 1970.