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.