- Active Member of the Special Olympics
- Gold Medal Winner
Rafer Johnson, one of the greatest all-around track athletes in history competed equally as well in several events while a student at UCLA and quite naturally it was in the decathlon where he made his mark.
His first decathlon was in 1954 and a year later on his fourth try at the 10-eventer, he set the first of his three world records and won the Pan-American Games title.
Rafer was second in the decathlon at the Olympic Games but never lost again, winning the gold medal in 1960.
He won three National AAU titles from 1956 to 1960 and his duels with the USSR’s Vasiliy Kuznyetsov and Taiwan’s C.K. Yang, who was also a UCLA teammate, were some of the greatest in track history.
Like many other decathlon stars, Johnson later became a movie actor and a successful businessman.
The 1960 Sullivan Award winner as the nation’s top amateur athlete, Johnson carried the torch at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
He was elected to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983.