Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Illustration for article titled Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

South African revolutionary, prisoner, politician, and icon Nelson Mandela died today at age 95. Before he did so much else, he was something of a boxer. Here's what Mandela had to say on the sport in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:

"Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant. When you are circling around your opponent, testing his strengths and weaknesses, you do not think about his skin color or social status."

"I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter. It was a way of losing myself in something that was not the struggle. After an evening's workout I would wake up the next morning feeling strong and refreshed, ready to take up the fight again."