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Photograph by John G. Zimmerman

"Ray Johnson is rare concentrate of some old Sunday school virtues: tolerance, humility and godliness, none of which can be said to be gaining too much ground in this go-get-'em age. Johnson's kind of tolerance is not the diluted brand that sells so cheaply around the world these days, good only among people who already think alike. His is the real thingóby Voltaire's definition, the capacity to be tolerant even of intolerance."

Text by Coles Phinizy
Issue Date: January 5, 1959


In 1958 Rafer Johnson broke the world decathlon record while he was a senior in college. At a track meet in Moscow, the UCLA student body president scored 8,302 points to outduel his rival, Vasiliy Kuznetsov of Russia. Johnson managed to win over the Russian's home crowd with his courageous performance and outdid the previous record by 288 points.



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