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Rafer Johnson

former American decathlete

Rafer Johnson (born 1935) won the Olympic decathlon in 1960 with a record-breaking score of 8,392 points. The decathlon winner, according to tradition, is regarded as the best all-around athlete in the world. As captain of the American Olympic Team, he bore the U.S. flag proudly in the opening ceremonies of the games that year and was the first African American to assume that special honor. He spent many years before and after his Olympic triumph spreading the message of peace as an international ambassador of goodwill, and in 1984 he received the distinctive honor of lighting the Olympic flame at the games in Los Angeles, California.