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TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

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U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team meets Muhammad Ali in the Olympic Athlete's Village



The entire U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team was able to meet "The Greatest," boxing superstar Muhammad Ali, in person at the U.S. Olympic office at the Athlete Village at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia on Sunday, September 17. The Greco-Roman team was meeting as a group at the USOC office to attend their pre-event press conference at the Main Press Center later that afternoon. It coincided exactly with the time that Ali made a surprise visit to the village to meet the U.S. athletes and encourage them in their efforts. Each of the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers had an opportunity to speak with Ali and have their picture taken with the legendary sports hero. Ali was a 1960 Olympic gold medalist in boxing, and became the most popular person on the planet during his illustrious athletic career. Ali was named the Greatest Athlete of the Century by numerous media outlets this past year. Ali was the person chosen to light the Olympic torch when the Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Ga. in 1996. It was a chaotic scene when Ali drove up to the USOC office in his limosine, led by a police escort. When Ali stepped out of the car, dozens of U.S. athletes and coaches from a number of sports surrounded him, pushing for a chance to be next to the most famous athlete of the modern era. The meeting has special meaning for the team members, who all considered Ali among their athletic idols. Head coach Dan Chandler called it one of highlights of his life. Kevin Bracken was excited when Ali signed an autograph on one of Bracken's personal "Real Wrestling, Real Heroes" posters, right on the photo of Bracken in his singlet. Steven Mays had a chance to joke around with Ali, who was throwing punches and laughing with the athletes. One of the highlights for the wrestling team came when Ali had his picture taken with Fraser. That's Steve Fraser, 1984 Olympic Champion Greco-Roman wrestler, not Joe Frazier, the former World champion boxer who fought Ali in three memorable battles. When Fraser was with Ali, Mays and some of the other athletes chanted "Frazier, Frazier." Although the U.S. team was a few minutes late for its press conference, each of the team members had an opportunity to meet a legendary hero and add a special memory to their Olympic experience.
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