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01 December 2019 02:38

What makes a sporting great — a Muhammad Ali or a Sir Roger Bannister?

andy murray

What makes a sporting great — a Muhammad Ali or a Sir Roger Bannister? Talent, obviously. Strength, perseverance and discipline play their part. Charisma helps, but isn't mandatory. Lots of sporting heroes are one-dimensional figures.

free battle

Andy Murray’s great service in revealing mental health struggles for new film

All that training and self-absorption don't always make for brilliant, outgoing conversationalists. Those who go down in the history books, when equally high-achieving peers are consigned to oblivion after their 15 minutes on the podium, tend to capture the zeitgeist. They are the embodiment of something greater than their own sporting prowess. Ali, born in 1942 into an era of segregation and state-sanctioned racism, became an icon for a countercultural generation with his conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. His principled stance cost him his titles and four years of…