Career highlights for American decathlete Rafer Johnson


FILE – In this July 20, 2015, file photo, Olympic gold medalist and philanthropist Rafer Johnson lifts his arm to mimic the lighting of the Olympic torch as he recalls the first Special Olympics World Games he attended, during a news conference in Los Angeles. Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. He was 86. He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth.


Career highlights of American decathlete Rafer Johnson, who died Wednesday at the age of 86:

1955 — Won gold medal at Pan American Games in Mexico City, competing in just his fourth decathlon.

1955 — Set decathlon world record with 7,985 points at a meet in his hometown of Kingsburg, California.

1956 — Won first national decathlon championship.

1956 — Won silver medal at Melbourne Olympics.

1958 — Set world record (8,357 points) while defeating Vasily Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union during a U.S.-Soviet dual meet in Moscow.

1958 — Sets another world record (8,683 points) in Eugene, Oregon.

1960 — Won Olympic gold medal at Rome Games.

1960 — Named Associated Press Athlete of the Year and winner of James E. Sullivan Award as nation’s outstanding amateur athlete.

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