A fear of flying almost cost Muhammad Ali -then known as Cassius Clay- an Olympic gold medal. He almost didn’t attend Rome 1960 because of it.
Clay won the Light Heavyweight gold medal. In his 1975 autobiography, he mentioned that, shortly after his return, he threw it into the Ohio River after he and a friend were refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant and had to fight with a white gang. Some of his friends later denied it, and others say he just lost the medal.
Ali received a replacement medal at Atlanta 1996 where he lit the Olympic torch.