What I can tell them is the way you become an Olympic champion is to start working now. I tell them why it's always worth it to put the time and effort into something you want to be good at.

— Rafer Johnson

The most unforgettable Rafer Johnson quotes to discover and learn by heart

From the very start in 1969, I wanted to be a part of helping our Special Olympics athletes succeed. I wanted to be on Eunice Shirver's team as another set of eyes, another set of hands and a heart working to be there for them, finding a way to help them be the best they can be.

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Through the program, they get the basics of what it takes to train.

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The main thing is that it's nice to see these young people - 9 to 14 years old - take the opportunity to get more involved in their health and fitness. We need more kids to be more active.

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I also meet with city officials, representatives from governors' offices, really anyone in that sort of position who has shown an interest in youth fitness, to let them know why this sort of program is so important. I give the same message when I speak at conferences.

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I don't care if I never see Texas again.

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The whole decathlon is ridiculous, but the 1,500 meters is insanity.

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I tell them how what matters is becoming the best you can be at whatever you're doing.

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It's very warm there, so we were outdoors all the time.

The local people had programs for us year-round, where as kids we had the opportunity to play football, basketball, baseball, track and field - we just went from one sport to the next, year-round.

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Tonight I'm going to shower and then just walk for about four hours and look at the moon.

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I make appearance at local park and recreation agencies when the program starts, when they have the qualifying meets at the local levels. Then I try to go to the regional competitions, and of course I'm there in Hershey, Pa., in August for the North American final.

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So I had the opportunity to do what the kids in the Hershey program do, except that the Hershey program lets them do it on such a larger scale, with the regional and national competitions.

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