The 7-year-old grandson of iconic boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali carried the Olympic flame through Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday night to commemorate the International Olympic Committee’s centennial of the founding of the modern Olympic Games.
Walsh, the son of Muhammad Ali Jr., carried the torch from the Muhammad Ali Cultural Center and onto the center’s bleachers, where hundreds of fans cheered him on.
Asked after his trip with the flame how it felt to carry it, Walsh said he felt “really good.”
“I don’t really know,” he said. “I don’t really know how I feel at all. It’s a lot of fun.”
Walsh’s father, Muhammad Ali Jr., was banned from traveling to the U.S. to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after calling the CIA a “terrorist organization” in a 2016 interview. Ali was not allowed to travel to the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, for protesting the Vietnam War.
Walsh has taken to speaking out about his controversial father. During a speech in New Orleans on Wednesday, Ali Jr. slammed the two cities that have rejected his father’s nomination for a Presidential Medal of Freedom — Louisana and Houston — saying the states are “killing the legacy of our beautiful father” and that the President should immediately withdraw the nomination.
Walsh tweeted a photo of himself carrying the Olympic flame onto the bleachers on Sunday night:
Champion athlete and president of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Foundation looks on as @NicoAliWalsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali Jr. of Louisville, Kentucky carries the Olympic Flame. #LightTheCauldron #2020LondonOlympics pic.twitter.com/xWNFvi2dZt — Muhammad Ali Legacy (@MuhammadAliLegacy) July 2, 2018
The celebration Sunday was part of an international party Saturday at the birthplace of the Olympic Games that also included a night of entertainment, floats and a fireworks display.
Amid celebratory festivities, IOC members will visit Thomas Edison’s former laboratory, Florence Owens Thompson’s statue and a building that housed the longest-serving single Olympic committee. They also will tour the Muhammad Ali Cultural Center and the Kentucky State Museum.
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