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Fifty years later, Rafer Johnson reminisces about his life and his victory in the 1960 Olympic decathalon. Great story.

These are some stories of an extraordinary life. No. Wait. They teach you early on in the storytelling business to never set expectations too high. For instance, you don’t want to say, “Oh, I’ve got this hilarious joke I have to tell you.” Let the joke breathe. You don’t want to say, “Here is a story you will not believe.” Let the story speak. 

So, no, you don’t want to start off with something like, “These are some stories of an extraordinary life.” You want to let the stories stretch out on their own, reveal themselves slowly, allow John Wooden to appear and then Robert Kennedy, let Spartacus come up out of nowhere, and also the Special Olympics, drop in the saving of a Football Hall of Famer’s life, and then mention the Olympic torch. Yes, you want to let the stories unfold, except that there are too many stories on Rafer Johnson’s life, too much to get into, because even if you tell all those stories, you are still leaving out what he whispered in the ear of Muhammad Ali, and the love affair with Gloria Steinem, and the friendship with Tom Brokaw, and the time he played in a James Bond movie, and the other time he saved Lassie and…

These are the stories of an extraordinary life.

And we have not even gotten to that part from 50 years ago when Rafer Johnson and his good friend C.K. Yang competed in the decathlon for the ages.