ATLANTA — Less than 24 hours before the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics, Janet Evans finally got the word. She’d be passing off the flame to The Greatest. Muhammad Ali.
It would become one of the most chilling, eyes-watering moments in Olympic history. Ali emerged slowly from the darkness into the light of Atlanta’s 85,000-seat stadium, his left arm shaking from the ravages of Parkinson’s disease but his eyes bright.
He proudly held the torch aloft before delivering the spark that officially launched the 1996 Summer Games.
PHOTOS | Muhammad Ali sparking the torch, other great moments from the 1996 Summer Games
he competition had not even started, but those Olympics had their signature image.