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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 08:33 UK

Opening ceremony: Ali lights Atlanta
Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame at the 1996 Atlanta Games opening ceremony

Atlanta had the honour of staging the centennial Olympics in 1996 and unveiled one of the biggest sport stars of the 20th century to light their flame.

The torch had arrived in America 84 days earlier and embarked on a 16,000 mile trip round the country before it entered the aptly named Centennial Stadium.

The identity of the flame lighter had been a closely guarded secret and there were gasps and huge cheers when Muhammad Ali, who won Olympic boxing gold at the 1960 Games as Cassius Clay, came into view.

Ali, in turn, lit a self-propelling torch that carried the flame up a wire to the cauldron.



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