Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

56. Amnat Ruenroeng

Age: 29

He was about to start his third stint in a Thai jail, and the judge wasn't feeling merciful. Slapped with a 15-year sentence for robbery, Amnat Ruenroeng signed up for a prison boxing program to pass the time. Who knew it would turn into his salvation? In 2007, just a year after he first stepped into the prison ring, Amnat had won a national title in the light-flyweight division. The day after his victory, he was released from jail on good behavior. Now he's part of a fearsome Thai Olympic boxing squad that boasts several medal contenders. "I can't believe that I'm on the Olympic team," says the second-grade dropout and former drug addict. "I should still be in jail."