Muhammad Ali, the former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, is nearing the end of a five-nation African tour, seeking support for United States President Jimmy Carter's call for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics.
GV: Muhammad Ali descends from aircraft
GV: Government Ministers and diplomats walk forward to greet Ali
GV: Airport terminal in Monrovia with crowds watching from railings.
GV: Ali walking across tarmac surrounded by crowd
GV: Boxers sparring on tarmac PAN TO Ali arriving an sparring with them.
GV: Ali walking to airport terminal building
SV: Ali climbs into car and car drives off (2 shots)
GV: Executive's Mansion in Monrovia
SV: Ali out of car and into Mansion
SV INTERIOR: Ali shakes hands with Liberia's President, Doctor William Tolbert
SV: Aides look on as Ali and Tolbert chat. (2 shots)
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Background: Muhammad Ali, the former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, is nearing the end of a five-nation African tour, seeking support for United States President Jimmy Carter's call for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics. The boxer-diplomat received the warmest welcome of the tour so far when he arrived in Liberia on Friday (8 February).
SYNOPSIS: Liberia has close relations with the United States and the country already has declared that none of its athletes will compete in the Olympics unless the Soviet Union withdraws its forces from Afghanistan.
The tone of the brief stay in Liberia was set at Monrovia airport where, surrounded by admiring crowds, Ali jokingly sparred with a group of hopefuls from the Liberia Boxing Association.
Ali did not expect a real fight on the tarmac...nor did he anticipate disagreement with Liberia's leaders, a contrast to his Nigerian visit. That country made it clear to Ali that its athletes do intend going to Moscow. The former champion was treated correctly and politely in the Nigerian capital of Lagos...but also firmly.
Throughout the tour, Ali has been feted by an enthusiastic public. Whether their governments support or reject the Carter call is having no effect on their respect for Ali, the former world champion.
Liberia's President Doctor William Tolbert, already has accepted the Liberian Olympics Committee recommendation to boycott the Games, but adds that Muhammad Ali's visit has very little to do with the decision. The score on the Ali tour is: Kenya will boycott the Olympic along with Liberia, Tanzania has yet to decide, but Nigeria is competing, and Senegal, the last stop, already has declared its stand of not mixing politics with sport.