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Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela

Photograph By Mike Hutchings/Reuters

In 2004, Nelson Mandela carried the Olympic flame on Robben Island as it made its way to Athens. When South Africa returned to the Olympics in 1992, he spoke to the team in Barcelona. "Our country has been isolated for many years, not only in sports but in other fields as well," he said, according to Sports Illustrated. "We are saying now, 'Let's forget the past. Let bygones be bygones.'"