Cuban boxing legend Teofilo Stevenson reigned supreme in the heavyweight division of the Olympics, becoming the first boxer in any weight category to win a gold medal in three straight Olympic Games. Stevenson first struck gold in Munich in 1972 then followed it up with wins in Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980.
Displaying a rare combination of speed and power, Stevenson so dominated his rivals in Montreal that he won his first three bouts in a combined time of seven minutes and 22 seconds. His loyalty to Cuba, where professional sports is outlawed, was tested several times, but Stevenson never wavered. He spurned a multi-million dollar offer to turn professional and fight then-heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, which would have been a potentially explosive bout, choosing to retain his amateur status and earning the respect and love of his countrymen in return. His success also helped turn Cuba into the Olympic boxing powerhouse it is today, as many young Cubans, inspired by Stevenson’s exploits, took up the sport, forming a large pool of talent that the country taps every four years for the Olympics. (Source: Olympic.org.)
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