By LEVI EDWARDS | Digital Team Reporter
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:
Speaking with gold medalist Sam Graddy over the phone, he reminisced over an article that was written about him years ago in the 1980s that he felt well represented "the way he was wired" as an athlete. In the headline of this feature piece done on Graddy, the journalist described him as "a mean sprinter."
That would also be the best way to describe Graddy's ability on the football field.
"Track is a sport where you really have to push yourself," Graddy said. "I learned at an early age to always go above and beyond what was required of me from my coaches.
"The determination, the preservation, the will to win – all of those were useful in me making that transition from track to football. That never give up attitude, I'm going to find a way to get it done and I won't be denied.
Graddy certainly wasn't denied respect every time he stepped on a track. The Georgia native didn't start running track until his sophomore year of high school. Up to that point he had only played football, starring at the tailback position. His senior year he went undefeated in track, winning a state championship and becoming an high school American, which officially made him a hot recruiting commodity for both sports.