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Sports Then and Now



Rafer Johnson 2

Posted on August 02, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Rafer Johnson

Rafer Johnson

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Summer Olympics, we are honoring as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Week the person who received the prestigious honor of lighting the Olympic Flame at the opening ceremonies of those games.

Because success in the decathlon requires high-level performances in 10 significantly different events, decathlon champions have traditionally been considered to be the best athletes in the world. Few have ever been better than Rafer Johnson.

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month won a Bronze Star in Vietnam before going on to win American League Rookie of the Year honors and playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.

      Though only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Al Bumbry was a four-year basketball player at Virginia State College (now University). The school restarted its baseball program during his career and Bumbry hit .578 during his senior season to earn notice from the Baltimore Orioles, who picked him in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

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