Saturday, February 4, 2012

Faces in the Crowd

I used to read Sports Illustrated every week. Probably did so for twenty years, until so much sports information became available online. One of the features they had was called "Faces in the Crowd." It listed several people each week who reached an obscure sports achievement that most of us would have never heard of. I discovered a distant cousin on the pages of an old magazine.

Johnny Ray Evans was born in 1954 in Jacksonville, Florida and died in 2006 in Winter Haven, Florida. I never knew him or anyone in his family. My genealogy software says he was my 3rd cousin, one time removed. His family was originally from Taylor County Florida.

I started researching the family after I received an email from one of the members who came across my blog. I found his obituary online using Google newspapers. It mentioned he was a seven time National Judo Champion. That isn't something you see everyday.

I decided to look up other articles about him and one was in Sports Illustrated, dated November 23, 1964.

I can't copy the photo from it but the link and article are below.

"Johnny Ray Evans, 10, of Hollywood, Fla. a 4-foot-7, 87-pound fifth-grader who took up judo two years ago, won nine bouts—eight of them by clean throws—to finish first over 53 boys in his division at the National Junior Judo Tournament in Miami Beach."

You can see his picture on page 125 using the link that says "view this issue."

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