Ambassador Andrew Young shares Olympic memory of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali wanted a haircut.

Visiting Atlanta to light the torch during the opening ceremony of the 1996 Olympics, Muhammad Ali's request was certainly reasonable. But former mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young was concerned that people might figure out what Ali was in town for if the former heavyweight champion went out in public. Ali had flown into a private airport and non-disclosure agreements were signed to ensure that the torch lighting remained a huge surprise.

So when Ali requested a haircut, Young suggested a barber be brought to him.

Ali insisted on going out into the city. He went to local barber shop Mitchell Brothers.

"He went in and kissed everybody, all of the babies and the ladies in the beauty parlor," Young said, sharing the memory in his Andrew Young Foundation office nearly one week after Ali died in a Phoenix hospital.

After his haircut, Ali went to Raheem's Fish Supreme.

Despite the public appearances, Young said they were still able to keep Ali's involvement in the Olympics a secret.

"He just made it like a day of celebration, but [no one] connected that with the Olympics."

Since Ali's death, the former boxer's involvement with the 1996 Olympics has been revisited by several people involved the ceremony, including Billy Payne, CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

The former boxer died on Friday in Phoenix. He was 74 years old.

Ali was hospitalized earlier this week and was battling respiratory problems that were complicated by Parkinson’s disease, according to reports. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1984.

A public memorial service for Ali is being held in Louisville, Kentucky today.