Life & Style
Friday Jan 18 2019

Louisville airport to be renamed in honour of boxing great Muhammad Ali

Louisville Regional Airport will be renamed in honour of boxing great Muhammad Ali. Photo: HBO

LOUISVILLE: An airport in Louisville, Kentucky will be renamed after its most famous resident, boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

The Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s board voted on Wednesday to change the name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.

“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately that is our great city of Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer announced on the eve of Ali’s birthday. The mayor added that the boxer left a legacy of "humanitarianism and athleticism" that has inspired billions of people. 

The boxer who passed away on June 3, 2016, remains one of the most popular sportsmen in the world.

Since his rise to prominence as the world heavyweight champion in the 1960s and his opposition of the Vietnam War, Ali remained a voice for peace and equality despite being down with Parkinson’s disease for several years. He lit up the flame for the 1996 Olympic Games and was called a universal soldier for common humanity by former president Bill Clinton.

“By choosing to rename the airport for Muhammad Ali, a world-renowned humanitarian honored as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and an athlete honoured as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the 20th Century we as a community are honoring his legacy and celebrating this global icon who is a fellow Louisvillian. This tells the world how proud we are to associate ‘The Greatest’ with not only our great city, but our great airport," Fischer added. 

Ali’s wife Lonnie said she was proud that the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and the City of Louisville were supportive the change of name of the airport to reflect her late husband’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown.

“I am happy that visitors from far and wide who travel to Louisville will have another touch point to Muhammad and be reminded of his open and inclusive nature, which is reflective of our city," she said.

Lonnie added, "Ali was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy.”