Sports world remembers Nelson Mandela

Sadly, the world lost one if its’ great heroes on Thursday.  Former South African president and international human and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg after a long bout with illness.

Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in 1962 for his efforts in working towards racial equality and the end of apartheid in South Africa.  He was released from prison in 1990 and served as president from 1994 to 1999.  Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 for helping to finally bring racial equality to the African nation.

“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” South African president Jacob Zuma said in a statement, according to CNN.com. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”

In addition to all of Mandela’s efforts and accomplishments for the South African people, and the world, he was an avid sports fan.  Mandela helped to bring the 1995 Rugby World Cup to the country and the 2010 World Cup.

“Sports has the power to change the world.  It has the power to inspire.  It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.  Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair,” Mandela famously  said in a 2006 speech.

Sports stars, including Muhammed Ali expressed their remembrances of the man as news of his passing circulated.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Mandela. His was a life filled with purpose and hope; hope for himself, his country and the world.

 

“He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically,” Ali said of his friend.

Several sports figures, particularly from the world of boxing – Mandela was reportedly a huge fan – expressed their love, thanks and remembrances today on Twitter.  Below is a compilation of some of those Tweets, which have been pouring in all day.

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