Alex Ramos Selected as USA Torchbearer for ATHENS 2004
24.05.04 - The Founder and President of the Retired Boxers Foundation, Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos, has been selected as one of the US Torchbearers for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay in Los Angeles, California. The Olympic flame visits the United States, June 16-19, in the first-ever global Olympic torch relay.
Article posted on 24.05.2004
The Olympic flame will be carried in Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia and New York City, New York. Ramos will carry the torch for 400 meters in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, June 16th, 2004. According to a press release from the U.S. Olympic Committee on May 4th:“Some of America’s greatest Olympians will carry the flame in the USA on its historic journey including Bonnie Blair (Delafield, Wis.), Gail Devers (Loganville, Ga.), Janet Evans (Irvine, Calif.), Rulon Gardner (Cascade, Colo.), Rafer Johnson (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), Jackie Joyner Kersee (St. Louis, Mo.), Shannon Miller (Grafton, Mass.), Peter Vidmar (Coto de Caza, Calif.) and Bonny Warner (Byron, Calif.), among many other notable athletes.
Some of the torchbearers, such as these Olympians, are known all over the world. A common thread ties all the torchbearers together in that they exhibit characteristics that exemplify the Olympic ideals. They represent the best of humanity in their city, country and world. Being selected as a torchbearer for the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay is a tremendous honor. The theme for the torch relay is “Pass the Flame, Unite the World.” The Athens Organizing Committee for the 2004 Olympic Games established criteria that all torchbearers ‘represent the best of humanity’ and that selection programs include some form of public participation. Torchbearers selected reflect the values of the Olympic games and are people who unite their communities through sport, education or culture. They also inspire others through participation, celebration, human scale and heritage.
Along with the official nomination form, nominators were asked to submit an essay of 50-100 words explaining how the nominee meets the criteria of being an inspirational person who reflects the ‘best in humanity’. Local judging panels selected the individuals who will have the honor of uniting the world by carrying the Olympic flame. ATHENS 2004 approved all torchbearers.” Alex
Ramos is deeply honored to have been nominated and selected to be a Torchbearer for the 2004 ATHENS Olympics and intends to carry the torch to honor all of the amateur boxers who aspire to be medalists and for all of the fighters who never made it—especially his USA Boxing Teammates who were killed in a plane crash in 1980 en route to Warsaw, Poland for the USA vs. Poland Box-off as part of “USA vs. the World.” Killed in that crash were Lemuel Steeples from St. Louis; Calvin Anderson from Connecticut; Paul Palomino—Carlos Palomino’s brother; George Pimentel, New York and others, including trainers and Olympic Coach, Sarge Johnson. Ramos would have been on that flight, were it not for the fact that he was in the semi-finals for the New York State Golden Glove Tournament in 1980 and would have had to give up his shot at the Golden Gloves to make the flight. He boxed Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum and had he lost that fight, he would have been out of the semi-finals and on that plane.
Ramos was able to participate in “USA vs. Moscow” in 1980, when President Carter gave special permission to the USA Team to go to Moscow for this event. Because of the boycott of the Moscow Olympics, Ramos said that the USA Boxing Team had to go to Washington, D.C. to obtain special permission from President Jimmy Carter to travel to Moscow for the box-offs for USA vs. the World. Permission was granted by President Carter and Ramos won the tournament—the only fighter to win by a knockout!
He was presented a crystal “Misha the Bear” trophy, which was the Olympic symbol for the 1980 Olympics and presented to the outstanding fighter from the United States. Alex Ramos began his boxing career at the age of 11, and turned pro in 1980 after the Moscow Olympics were boycotted. By then, he had won 4 New York Golden Gloves and several other amateur titles—pretty much every amateur tournament fought in those days, including the Empire State Games, the PAL Tournament and the National AAU Championship. He became the USBA Middleweight Champion in 1984 and the 1986 California Middleweight Champion. He was one of “NBC’s Tomorrow’s Champions” which launched the careers of many great fighters.
In 1995, after some time in what Ramos calls “the darkness” of alcoholism, drugs and homelessness, Ramos turned his life around and started what was to become the Retired Boxers Foundation. The RBF was created by Ramos to help all of the retired professional boxers who had a hard time making the transition from their glorious days in the ring to a dignified retirement. “Boxing is the only professional sport that does not provide a pension or a retirement plan for the athletes when their careers are over. Many of us struggle with the aftermath of boxing, whether its physical or emotional damage, with no idea how to get back on our feet,” said Ramos.
Ramos is highly respected by his brothers in boxing and he likes to call the Retired Boxers Foundation “fighters helping fighters” because the athletes have created a network where they look out for each other. The RBF finds the resources, no matter how big or how small, to help restore the dignity these athletes deserved.
Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos will carry the 2004 Athens Olympic Torch to honor the brotherhood of boxing and he will run as one of “The Undisputed Champions for Dignity!”
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