The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are currently taking place with the closing of the games coming on Aug. 8. The Raiders have a rich history among the NFL of taking Olympic heroes and molding them into the Silver and Black.
Raiders.com's Levi Edwards has put together a three-part series commemorating the Raiders' Olympians who have won gold. Those include:
- WR Sam Graddy: Gold medalist 4x100m relay and silver medalist 100m, 1984 Los Angeles
- WR Ron Brown: Gold medalist 4x100m relay, 1984 Los Angeles
- WR James Jett:Gold medalist 4x100m relay, 1992 Barcelona
The Raiders don't let just anyone wear No. 24.
Hall of Fame cornerbacks Willie Brown and Charles Woodson have both made the jersey number synonymous with greatness in the Raiders organization. Safety Johnathan Abram occupies the number on the current roster.
To add to the greatness of the No. 24, it was also worn by one of Los Angeles' favorite sons and Olympic gold medalist Ron Brown.
The story of Ron Brown is one of excellence. The Inglewood, California, native has shined bright since his days attending Baldwin Park High School and Northgate High School. While Brown was recruited to several local California programs, he decided to cross state lines over to Arizona State University.
The move was necessary for Brown. The university gave him the opportunity to be on a dual-scholarship for track and football. It also gave him the chance to focus on the sacrifices it took to become an Olympian.
"Arizona State was a perfect fit," said Brown. "I didn't want to stay in my area and get distracted."
As a Sun Devil, Brown excelled in all three facets of the game on the football field. Brown had seven interceptions throughout his collegiate career and played wide receiver his senior year, catching five touchdowns. He was also a return specialist as an underclassmen before getting more snaps at cornerback and wide receiver.
On the track, Brown was a different beast.
He broke the school's 100-meter record in 1981 with a time of 10.15 seconds. It's still the second-fastest time in school history. Three years later, he ran a 10.23 at the Olympic Trials, placing him third behind Carl Lewis and future Raiders teammate Sam Graddy. That would qualify him for the legendary 4x100-meter relay team, alongside Lewis, Graddy and Calvin Smith.
"Sam Graddy brought it to me, I'd give it to Calvin [Smith] - who at one time was a world record holder. He was the first one to go under 10 flat," said Brown. "And then he brought it to Carl Lewis, which at that time he was the fastest man in the world.
"We had a good team. We knew we had the leg speed to get it around, we just had to make sure we didn't drop [the baton]."
Brown and his three teammates took gold in those 1984 games in Los Angeles, also giving him the accomplishment of winning a gold medal in his hometown.
"It was big for me," Brown reminisced. "God is good though. He definitely had a plan for me though because anything can happen on that journey and things just really worked out for me. My training got better and of course, being on that relay team with those three other fast guys was just a blessing."