Ti man enjoys Olympic experience

He saw Michael Phelps win seven gold medals and Usain Bolt set three world records in 2008 in China. He was there for Carl Lewis's four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. He sat with decathlete Dan O'Brien's parents while he competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Raymon has seen more than three decades of Olympic history firsthand, but most of his stories are about people, not competitions.

"I've met so many wonderful and interesting people," he said. "I love sports, but it's the chance meetings with people that make the Olympics special."

While in China for the 2008 Beijing Games he met Yang Tai Yang, that country's most famous artist. Striking up a conversation, something Raymon has no trouble doing, he was invited to Yang's home and returned to Ti with a scroll.

While on a tour of New Zealand just before the 2000 Sydney Games, Raymon met Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest. It remains a highlight of his life.

"You don't get to know people by staying quiet," the out-going Raymon said. "I like to visit. It's not hard to meet interesting people."

Raymon attends the Olympics as part of a tour organized by Track & Field News. He's made some impressive friends.

George Ramos, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the Los Angeles Times, was his roommate in Sydney. He counts Rafer Johnson, a former Olympian and aide to the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy, and Milt Davis of the 1958 NFL Champion Baltimore Colts as friends. He gets Christmas cards from John Landy, the famed Australian runner, who later became a high-ranking government official. He also knows Sebastian Coe, the British track and field world-record holder who later served in England's Parliament.

On his way home from Vancouver he was seated on the plane next to the mother of Patrick Kane, the star of the U.S. hockey team.

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