Story and photos by Jeff Julian



The 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team, considered by many as one of the best ever produced by this country, was honored Friday June 9th in Canastota, NY during the Hall of Fame Weekend. "The Night of Olympians", held at the Rusty Rail Party House, celebrated the 30th anniversary of that fabled group. Many of the team members were on hand to relive the memories from those Montreal games, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, Howard Davis, Jr., Leo Randolph, Charles Mooney, Louis Curtis, Chuck Walker and Davey Armtrong. The classy event was packed with fans and boxing luminaries who were treated to a night of Olympic memories. ShoBox broadcasters Steve Farhood and Nick Charles offered their insight on the 1976 Olympic boxing team and what it meant to America and boxing in general. The night's event included video highlights of the honorees and speeches in which the former Olympians reflected on their personal memories of that magical year.


Ray Leonard (light welterweight), Leon Spinks (light heavyweight), Michael Spinks (middleweight), Howard Davis (lightweight), and Leo Randolph (flyweight) all grabbed gold medals that year. Charles Mooney (bantamweight) won silver and John Tate (heavyweight) won bronze. Many of that group went on to win professional titles. Sugar Ray Leonard would go on to become one of America's most famous and admired boxing superstars and the first to win major belts in five weight divisions. Leon and Michael Spinks were the first boxing brothers ever to win gold medals at the same Olympics. In only his eighth pro bout, Leon staged one of boxing's biggest upsets when he beat Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight title in 1978. Michael would become the first light heavyweight champion to move up and capture the heavyweight title. Leo Randolph won the WBA junior featherweight title in 1980. John Tate captured the WBA heavyweight title in 1979. Tate died of a heart attack in 1998.


The 1976 "Dream Team" captured America's hearts that summer of the Bicentennial - a year in which the Soviet Union and Cuba were once again expected to dominate the boxing events. Their reunion in Canastota gave the Olympic teammates, as well as boxing fans, a chance to reminisce and relive their glorious accomplishments from thirty years ago.



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