Sport: Whatever It Takes

His handsome, ebony face lined with strain and bathed with sweat, Rafer Johnson collapsed wearily on a folding chair at the University of Oregon's track field last Saturday. "It's ridiculous," he muttered. "The whole thing's ridiculous.'' The 4,500 cheering spectators sympathized—but disagreed. In his first competitive fling at the decathlon—among the most grueling of all sports events—since he injured his back in an automobile accident last year, Johnson had just turned in the greatest individual performance in modern track history. In last week's Olympics decathlon trials, Johnson amassed 8,683 points and eclipsed by a fantastic 326 points the world record, set...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!