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Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Ali says he'll have no role in Sydney Games opener

 BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- Muhammad Ali, who lighted the cauldron to open the Atlanta Olympics four years ago, will be at the Sydney Games opening ceremonies Friday.

 "Right now, I haven't got any planned role -- I'm only there to be a spectator," said Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion.

 Ali is touring factories operated by the Visy Industries packaging and recycling company, owned by billionaire businessman Richard Pratt, who invited Ali to Australia.

 Wednesday, the former champion visited an industrial estate on the western outskirts of Brisbane.

 Just three months after being honoured as sportsman of the century, he stood, hands shaking from Parkinson's disease, in front of the working-class crowd.

 His friend Anthony Pratt, son of the packaging magnate, introduced Ali as the greatest sportsman in the history of the world.

 Losing little of his showmanship to the debilitating disease that has robbed him of much of his movement, Ali pointed to himself as the introduction was made.

 Aided by his wife Lonnie, he later answered questions from the enthusiastic crowd, whipped up by footage of Ali's Rumble In The Jungle with George Foreman.

 When asked what it felt like to put Foreman on the canvas, Ali answered "good." He also joked that he could beat current world champion Lennox Lewis.

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