Today, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who serves as the President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, announced that the Coliseum’s Torch has been lit in honor of Rafer Johnson, the famed decathlete and actor who passed away today in his Sherman Oaks home.
“Rafer Johnson was a great athlete and a great human being. His legacy will live on forever,” said Hahn.
Rafer Johnson carried the American Flag in the 1960 Olympic Games as our nation’s first Black captain of a United States Olympic team and won the gold medal in a close decathlon race. He later went on to light the Olympic torch at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at the 1984 Summer Games.
After the 1960 Olympic Hames, Johnson became close associates with the Kennedy family and was a pallbearer at Robert Kennedy’s funeral. Through his work with Eunice Kennedy he became the founder of the Southern California chapter of the Special Olympics.
The torch will remain lit until sundown this evening and from sun up to sun down tomorrow, December 3rd.