In Memoriam: Rafer Johnson
December 18, 2020
Rafer Johnson, a member of the Coliseum Memorial Court of Honor, was named the Greatest Athlete in the World in 1960. A decathlon gold medalist in the Games of the XVII Olympiad in Rome, Rafer was the first black person to carry the flag for the United States in the 1960 Opening Ceremonies. In 1984 Rafer made history again when in front of a worldwide audience he became the first black man to ignite the Olympic cauldron to open the XXIII Olympiad at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Rafer passed away at the age of 85 on December 2, 2020.