“So we didn’t really know what his accomplishments were and how the rest of the world saw him until much later on when he the final torchbearer. He’s the most polite, most gentile, most giving man in the Olympic movement. “We not only felt he was probably the greatest all-around athlete in the country, but also an example of our finest traditions.”, Added fellow American and hurdler Lee Calhoun: “To most of the guys on the team he represents perfection.”. One word at a time. “But the man that I met in the 1970s, after my Olympic success, and the man I worked with at the ’84 Olympics is just a gentleman.
“I go, ‘Oh, this is what this is.’ It was probably then where I thought, ‘OK, I’d love to do this one day,’” Jenny said. Former Los Angeles Times reporter Elliott Almond, now with the Bay Area News Group, shared Plaschke’s sentiment.
The U.S. men’s basketball team, then made up of amateurs, featured four future Hall of Famers including Walt Bellamy, Jerry Lucas, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West and 10 of the 12 players had NBA careers. That begged the question: Why isn’t he as embedded in the minds of the general population, particularly the generations under the age of 40?
As a child in a house with limited exposure to TV viewing, Almond gravitated toward Olympic and college sports over most professional sports. Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. “You win the Olympic gold medal in that event and it elevates you to a sphere that’s sort of beyond anything.”. He was on the cover of national publications such as Sports Illustrated and had a host of athlete of the year honors from various outlets, and that was only scratching the surface on the list. People were following us and chasing him.”. “He was the right person to represent L.A.” Almond said. #WeAreSOSC #FridayFun #Swim, Today's Healthy Lifestyle Challenge video is by pe, Everybody dance now! The advisory committee to the Chicago Special Olympics included Dr. William Freeberg from Southern Illinois University, Dr. Hayden of the Kennedy Foundation, Dr. Arthur Peavy, Burke, William McFetridge, and Stephen Kelly of the Chicago Park District, as well as, Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson.
Parent Speaker - Mark Levine
WeAreSOSC.org is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Rafer Johnson’s gold medal decathlon performance. Almond, who has covered 11 Olympics, remembers when the title of World’s Greatest Athlete bestowed upon the Olympic decathlon champion carried more weight. Yesterday, we took a look at his journey to get to the Games. Bill Dwyre, who spent 25 years as the newspaper’s sports editor, said it was “well-known [Rafer] was an influential guy” who was the embodiment of an Olympian—both in athletic prowess and human decency. Mark Levine. Yet, all his children saw was their father. But it was decathlon star Rafer Johnson who was bestowed the honor of carrying the American flag and leading the delegation into the Opening Ceremonies at Stadio Olimpico on Aug. 25, 1960. But it was decathlon star Rafer Johnson who was bestowed the honor of carrying the American flag and leading the delegation into the Opening Ceremonies at Stadio Olimpico on Aug. 25, 1960.
After his enormous success at the 1960 Olympics, Rafer became acquainted with Robert F. Kennedy. Parade of Champions SOSC Up to the Minute. Thank you for participating in the Virtual Weekend of Inclusion! Sponsor an Athlete Inspirational Messages Almond was 7 at the time of Johnson’s gold medal, although his young age hadn’t quite grasped the moment. Like many, Dwyre sees a soft-spoken, gentle giant with no ego who is “highly respected.” Dwyre would still put Johnson’s achievements up against the other greats, though he admits that track events such as the 100 meters have gained more mainstream appeal than the decathlon. Fast-forward 24 years, with Almond three years into what would become a 20-year stint at the Los Angeles Times, where he specialized as an investigative sports enterprise and Olympics reporter. Present when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, he helped subdue the gunman, Sirhan Sirhan.
Athletically, they were parallels,” Almond said. Enter your email address to subscribe to #WeAreSOSC and receive notifications of the latest news, features, videos and more by email. So, when Johnson led the Americans through the tunnel and into a stadium filled with 100,000 spectators, only host Italy surpassed the raucous ovation, according to reports. Rafer Johnson’s children, friends and media members look back at the 1984 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. He was a rockstar. For Almond, a native of Los Angeles, the moment at the ’84 Olympics and Johnson’s stature in his eyes hit differently than the average sports fan. Rafer Johnson Breakfast with Champions Event Chair.
Twelve years later, Almond found himself in Atlanta covering another historic Opening Ceremony and moment when Muhammad Ali was revealed as the final torchbearer. Celebrating Rafer Johnson: The Build to the 1960 Rome Olympics, Inside SOSC: Special Olympics is a Family Affair for Athlete Joselyn Bermudez and Her Parents, Poetry in motion! He was a fan of UCLA men’s basketball, which Johnson was a part of in addition to track and field. Special Olympics CA Not Included in Initial State Budget; California Voters Push for Inclusion, Special Olympics Southern California Partners with Aspire to Drive Donations, Poetry in motion! It is meant to explore the people and their stories.
“In my opinion, such events help the fight against Communism in proving that regardless of race, creed or color the United States is still striving toward the goal of constitutional democracy for which our founding fathers fought,” wrote El Monte resident Hjalmar Graff. So many people saw that and experienced it, many more people than even probably had seen him at the Olympics (as a competitor). “I didn’t understand the magnitude of what he had done,” Jenny said of her childhood.
Special Olympics Southern California President/CEO
Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. Made possible by Striking Idea, Thank You for Supporting the 2020 Rafer Johnson Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions Event Chair Bill Shumard Special Olympics Southern California President/CEO Parent Speaker - Mark Levine Athlete Speaker - Joshua Levine Dustin Plunkett – Master of Ceremonies Learn More Inside SOSC is a blog managed by staff member Tracy McDannald. Breakfast With Champions. But Johnson’s athletic feat, and more so the way he carried himself, was something Almond grew to admire. Enter your email address to subscribe to #WeAreSOSC and receive notifications of the latest news, features, videos and more by email. I watched the Watts riots and, of course, was a reporter during the Rodney King stuff. By Dennis J. Freeman. “The man is one of the classiest individuals I’ve ever known. Athlete Speaker - Joshua Levine Sponsor an Athlete, For more information, please contact Maureen Barclift at firstname.lastname@example.org or 562.502.1135. Log in as an administrator and view the Instagram Feed settings page for more details. Over the years, he’s gotten to know the man behind the legendary legacy. His beats at the ’84 Olympics were shooting and archery, which were based in Chino for the start of the Games and were typically among the first events to award medals. Members of the Los Angeles Times sports staff for the ’84 Olympics had no qualms about the selection. As he collected himself to write his story that day, Johnson came to mind. Parade of Champions Thirty-six years ago today, Johnson had the honor of lighting the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—the first Black person in history to do so. Facebook Live event Sprinter Wilma Rudolph, who overcame her bout with polio as a child, became the first American woman to win three track and field gold medals in a single Olympics. Rafer Johnson’s children, friends and media members look back at the 1984 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. New posts will not be retrieved. I don’t mean to be too Biblical, but it just seems like he’s been able to transcend all of that—whether it’s L.A. racial tensions or prejudices, or anything.”. Bill Shumard According to an article in the Los Angeles Times recapping the moment, the distinction typically went to either the oldest or most successful Olympian. By 1984, Josh and Jenny experienced how the rest of the world saw their dad. He became a celebrity.”, Added Jenny: “When he lit the torch, I think that was such a huge sports moment. He also represented change, and Johnson had paved a barrier-breaking path long before he set foot in Rome. So, like the rest of the world, Almond watched the Opening Ceremonies and Johnson’s moment on TV. Bill Shumard Special Olympics Southern California President/CEO Parent Speaker. Yang. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. The next story will look back on Rafer Johnson’s triumph in the decathlon, including the ups and downs throughout the gold medal-winning performance and his bond with C.K. Authorized and Accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
“Now, it’s still used, it’s thrown about, but it doesn’t mean anything in the digital age and it hasn’t for generations,” Almond said. Event Info “I know there’s a lot of respect from other people for him. Studio City-For Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson, giving back is … Columnist Bill Plaschke wrote an article in May 2019 that wondered why Johnson’s name often gets lost in the shuffle when lists and polls of the greatest athletes are compiled, sometimes even when narrowed down to Los Angeles legends. A thorough professional, a devoted family man, committed to his highest standards. “If you were any student of the Olympics, a fan of the Olympics, Rafer was big in your mind,” said Dwyre, who earned the National Press Foundation’s editor of the year honor for the staff’s coverage of the ’84 Olympics. Log in as an administrator and view the Instagram Feed settings page for more details. New posts will not be retrieved. That was a moment where the attention he got at the Olympics was crazy. So, there’s different routes to bridging gaps. Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday, June 6 as we hosted the Breakfast with Champions Facebook Live program during our "Virtual Weekend of Inclusion"! “He was huge,” Arnold said last November at an event honoring Johnson at his LA84 Foundation Library exhibit. Rafer Johnson, American athlete and actor, who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Olympic gold medal winner Rafer Johnson has attached himself to the cause of Special Olympics. #WeAreSOSC #FridayFun #Swim, Today's Healthy Lifestyle Challenge video is by pe, Everybody dance now! Today, we celebrate the anniversary of his place in history at the Opening Ceremonies. It's not too late to watch the virtual program and support SOSC by making a donation. The 1960 Rome Olympics featured a slew of breakout American stars whose achievements are still celebrated to this day. Sometimes I just feel like Rafer was brought down from the heavens.
Longtime friend, sports broadcaster and SOSC supporter Ed Arnold sees a man who was elected student body president in junior high, high school and at UCLA, where he also became the first Black pledge in a predominantly Jewish fraternity—all while balancing his athletic dreams—and can’t help but gush about the “wonderful” person inside the star athlete. Athlete Speaker. Before inspiring the world as Muhammad Ali, boxer Cassius Clay won gold as a light heavyweight. Part of that committee was 1976 U.S. Olympic swimmer John Naber, who won four gold medals in Montreal at the age of 20. “Of the 33 sports figures who have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — Johnson is stunningly not one of them. Jenny, who followed her father’s footsteps to UCLA and went on to become an Olympian in beach volleyball in 2000, said the experience in 1984 helped shape her dream. © 2008 - 2020 Special Olympics Southern California
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