Rafer Johnson: A life in Photos

HE STEPPED UP: Rafer Johnson didn't know he would be the final torch-bearer until about 10 days before the 1984  ceremony.
HE STEPPED UP: Rafer Johnson didn’t know he would be the final torch-bearer at the Coliseum until the Games’ organizer, Peter Ueberroth, told him about 10 days before the opening ceremony.
(Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times)
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Basketball was one of four sports Rafer Johnson (18) lettered in in high school.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)
Rafer Johnson, center, finishes the fourth 100-meter heat of the decathlon at the Olympics in Rome on Sept. 5, 1960.
(Associated Press)
July 23, 1960: Rafer Johnson demonstrates physical fitness to some 900 Boy Scouts taking part in a two-day Camporee at UCLA.
July 23, 1960: Rafer Johnson demonstrates physical fitness to some 900 Boy Scouts taking part in two-day Camporee at UCLA.
(Bob Potwin)
Rafer Johnson, right, with UCLA freshman C.K. Kang at track practice in 1960.
(UCLA)
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Rafer Johnson competes in the shot put, one of the events in the decathlon, at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Rafer Johnson competes in the shot put, one of the events in the decathlon, at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
(Associated Press)
Wilma Rudolph and Rafer Johnson on the set of "The Games" at Rome's Olympic Stadium on March 24, 1969.
(Jim Pringle/Associated Press)
Rafer Johnson runs around the track at the Coliseum before lighting the Olympic flame on July 28, 1984.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Rafer Johnson lights the Olympic torch during opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Rafer Johnson lights the Olympic torch during opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
(Associated Press)
Ethel Kennedy and Rafer Johnson join the march to the jail in Salinas to visit labor leader Cesar Chavez.
(Associated Press)

Rafer Johnson of the United States competes against Yang Chuan-kwang of China in the 1,500-meters portion of the decathlon.
(Robert Riger/Getty Images)
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Rafer Johnson, and C.K. Yang during the Olympic Games.
Rafer Johnson and C.K. Yang during the Olympic Games.
(Keystone / Getty Images)
Images of the Rafer Johnson VIP reception.
Images of the Rafer Johnson VIP reception .
(LA84 Foundation)
Rafer Johnson holds the torch after lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the World Games at the Coliseum.
Rafer Johnson holds the torch after lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the World Games at the Coliseum.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rafer Johnson works as a volunteer for the Special Olympics in his office in Culver City.
(Joel P Lugavere/Los Angeles Times)

Rafer Johnson was grand marshal of the 29th Pacoima Christmas parade.
(Gerard Burkhart/Los Angeles Times)