Londos was never a big man, as wrestlers are measured. At the start he weighed only 140 pounds and even as champion he never went over 204. His weight today is 185.
Londos ignores the fact that he soon will become an octogenarian by running 3-5 miles at least three times a week, walking long distances daily, climbing and doing calisthenics on a 10-foot stepladder, doing 25-35 pushups every other day and lying on his back and raising his legs in the air 150 times every morning.
His life has been notable. He has a wife and three daughters, and an avocado ranch in Escondido that is now being subdivided for homes and apartments ("The avocados," he said, "got old --like me"). He received the Cross of the Golden Phoenix, a rarely presented award, from King Paul of Greece, for his philanthropic work with orphans on Cyprus. He is a member of the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame.
"I have no complaints," Londos says. "I do well. My life is comfortable." There are few things he would change if he could. He smiles slightly and looks straight at you.
"One thing," he says. "When I was young, I never had much money. Never enough so that I could go on to school, and I would do that if I could. I like philosophy. I would study that. It is a wonderful thing to be able to express yourself precisely and to the point.
"It was Cicero who said that the reason man excels the other animals is that he can talk and think and express himself. I try to excel. You excel everyone and you're doing pretty well, huh?"
Those who know him would not question that he has excelled most of them. They came in large numbers to honor him here last week at the World Explorers-Sportsmen's Club.
"I guess," said one of them, "that Jim Londos has more friends than anybody I know."
Londos, meanwhile, sat there in the smoke-filled, booze-heavy room and shunned the cigarets and the liquor, as he always has. He was even oblivious to the hubbub around him as he spoke in a soft, almost inaudible voice. He was talking about the profession that left him with a cauliflowered left ear, five broken ribs, a torn ankle ligament and a separated shoulder or two -- but also with a healthy outlook on this life.
This time he quoted one of his own people, a Greek, a man named Socrates.
"Socrates said, 'Be right, and fear no man, alive or dead.'"
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