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Curious Louisville: What Happened To Muhammad Ali's Olympic Medal?

Wikimedia Commons/Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANEFO)
Muhammad Ali

In the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, a young Muhammad Ali — then called Cassius Clay — defeated three-time European boxing champion Zbigniew Pietrzykowski.

He returned to Louisville with a gold medal, which he wore around his neck for days afterwards; some biographers say he even slept with it around his neck.

But then, the medal disappeared, and its fate has long been the topic of sports media speculation (despite the fact that he received a replacement medal in 1996).

One prevailing theory is that Ali had been turned away from a restaurant because he was black, so he tossed his medal off the Second Street Bridge into the Ohio River. But in interviews, Ali never gave a definitive answer regarding the medal’s location.

An Ali fan named Ray Watkins asked Curious Louisville to help him find out, once and for all. WFPL's Kyeland Jackson took on the challenge.

Listen here to see what they found:

Curious Louisville: What Happened To Muhammad Ali's Olympic Medal?

(Can't listen? Here's a transcript.)

You can ask your own Curious Louisville question in the form below, or at curiouslouisville.org.