World's Greatest Athlete - Decathlete Rafer Johnson passes away at 86!
Galatta | Dec 03, 2020, 03:51 pm
Everybody knows how daunting any competitive athletic discipline is and how insurmountable a Decathlon, involving 10 different gruelling athletic disciplines would be! Even in today's age with all the advancements in training and technology, competing in a Decathlon sure is a tough ask but imagine doing it in an Olympics, against all the most competitive athletes from all over the world and winning a Gold medal... Well, that is just what Rafer Johnson did, that too all the way back in 1960! This earned him the title of the World's Greatest Athlete. In a shocking news that has come out, the World's Greatest Athlete has passed away at the age of 86.
A statement issued by Rafer Johnson's family states that he passed away in his Los Angeles home, on Wednesday! A legend in athletics, Rafer Johnson also has the accolade of helping disarm and tackle Sirhan Sirhan, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, at the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968! Johnson also holds the legacy of being the first Black captain of a US Olympic team and he carried the American flag into Rome's Olympic Stadium, in August 1960! In this edition, he competed against his UCLA training partner CK Yang of Taiwan, to earn the title of the 'World's Greatest Athlete'!
Upon winning the title, Rafer Johnson told the media that he "planned to stick with him (CK Yang) like a buddy in combat!" He also added that he had had an advantage, the knowledge that it was going to be the last race of his life and that he would run as hard as required, to win it. Yang, who passed away in 2007, had remarked about Johnson, "I knew he would never let go of me unless he collapsed." Johnson had set his first World Record at a meet in Kingsburg, California, breaking the earlier mark set by his childhood hero and two-time Olympic champion - Bob Mathias! Johnson, born on August 18th, 1934, was a Goodwill Ambassador and played an important role in international relations during the Cold War. A legend has passed on and he will forever be remembered by all those whose lives he touched! RIP Rafer Johnson!