A sports legend days in Los Angeles.
Rafer Johnson won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He died yesterday at this home in Sherman Oaks. Johnson grew up in Kinsburg. When he was in high school, his track coach took him to Tulare to watch Bob Matthias compete. Matthias won the Olympic decathlon in 1948 and 1952.
Rafer Johnson won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. He competed despite two training injuries.
In Rome in 1960, he carried the US flag into the Olympic stadium and won the gold.
After the Olympics, Johnson became friends with the Kennedy family. In 1968, he was with Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles when he was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. He helped subdue Kennedy’s assassin.
Rafer Johnson, dead at the age of 86.