Jesse Owens’ family to present award to Muhammad Ali’s wife at Team USA Awards
One of Jesse Owens’ granddaughters will present an award to Muhammad Ali‘s wife, Lonnie Ali, at the Team USA Awards in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28.
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced the inaugural Jesse Owens Spirit Award that will be posthumously bestowed to Ali at the event.
The annual award “will recognize an individual(s) who has served as a powerful force for good in society, inspiring others by contributing to a better world, uniting people or leading a cause,” the U.S. Olympic Committee said in a press release.
“Our father believed in the power of the Olympic spirit, and felt that its capacity to spread goodness throughout the world has no boundaries,” Marlene Owens-Rankin, one of Owens’ three daughters, said in a press release. “We are honored that the USOC has created this new award in his name to recognize individuals for the positive impact they make on society. We greatly appreciate the USOC for recognizing our father with the initiation of this award.”
Ali died at age 74 on June 3. He won Olympic light heavyweight gold in 1960 and lit the Olympic cauldron in 1996.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Owens’ triumph at the Berlin Olympics -- four gold medals in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
“Muhammad believed with his whole heart in service to others and in advocating for those in need, and he was always proud of how the Olympic Movement could ignite that flame and unite the world in so many ways,” Lonnie Ali said in a press release. “I am honored to accept the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award on his behalf, and to encourage young people everywhere to harness that spirit and compassion to make their own impact on the world and to leave it a better place for future generations.”