Rafer Johnson, trailblazing Olympic gold medalist who disarmed RFK assassin, dies at 86


One of the greatest American athletes has died.

Rafer Johnson died at the age of 86 at his home in Sherman Oaks Wednesday.

Johnson is a gold medal Olympian - winning the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He also carried the U.S. flag at the games - the first Black American to do so.

He later lit the torch at Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum to open the 1984 Olympic Games.

Johnson set world records in the decathlon three different times for UCLA.

In 1968, he helped disarm Robert F. Kennedy's assassin at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He called the assassination one of the most devastating moments in his life.

Johnson hailed from Texas, the son of a cotton picker, and moved to California's San Joaquin Valley at the age of nine, according to an LA Times obituary. He attended UCLA.