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The New York Times, May 3, 1896 p. 16:



Enthusiasm of the Greeks When Lones Won the Long Run from Marathon--
Glimpses of the Contests in Which Americans Were Victors--
Honors to the Athletes--A Memorial to the Crown Prince from the American Contestants.

    ATHENS, Greece, April 15.--The international Olympic games culminated Friday afternoon, April 10. A more perfect day for athletic contests it would be difficult to imagine. Nothing could have intensified the interest of the events, and their importance could have increased only by the competition of a greater number of representative athletes. In any case, many of the results would have been the same...
    A full half hour before the first event every seat of the Stadium was filled. By close computation, the seating capacity is 47,500. When the runners came out at 2:30 for the final heat of the 100-meter dash, the number within the Stadium had increased to more than 50,000, and in front of its entrance and on the hills above were enough to more to make at least 70,000 spectators.

    The musical murmur of the multitude was hushed after a ripple of applause which cheered the athletes to the starting line. At the pistol shot Burke of the Boston Athletic Association bounded ahead, followed sharply by the German Hofmann, who was beaten by two meters at the finish, with the other runners closely bunched up as far behind.
    Again, amid cheers, the American flag went up, and the fifth victory for America was recorded. Lane of Princeton, who took the first trial heat on Tuesday so prettily, and thereby began the series of American victories, ran a plucky race in the final, but the pace of Burke and Hofmann proved too sharp for him. Curtis of the Boston Athletic Association, who took the third trial heat, was saving himself for the hurdles and did not run. Burke's time was 0:12, showing that the track was slow, for he ran hard.

    In the high jump Hofmann was very stylistic for the lower levels, with the old-fashioned square jump, but he dropped out very soon, leaving Clark of the Boston Athletic Association, Connolly of the Suffolk Club, and Garrett of Princeton to give a fine exhibition of scientific jumping. Clark soon proved his superiority, clearing 1.81 meters, and leaving Connolly and Garrett tied for second.

    The prettiest race of the afternoon was the 110-meter hurdles. There were three contestants--Goulding of the Gloster Athletic Club, England, Reichel of the Racing Club of France, and Curtis of the Boston Athletic Association. Hoyt saved himself for the pole vault.
    As was expected, Curtis took the quicker start. Goulding, however, ran powerfully, and was even with Curtis at the ninth hurdle, but the American took the next hurdle better, and in the sprint at the finish ran away from the Englishman. Time, 0:17 3-5.

    Two Greeks and two Americans contested in the pole vault. For the sake of the Greeks, the rod was set low and raised slowly. The Greeks were just dropping out when the signal gun announce the arrival of the first Marathon runner on Kephissia Street.
    Later, the vaulting was finished, with Hoyt, Boston Athletic Association first, and Tyler of Princeton second. Both had given a perfect exhibition of strong, scientific vaulting. When at last Tyler dropped out, and Hoyt was on the point of leaving with his well-earned victory, the Crown Prince and his brother asked him to try to raise the mark. Reluctantly, and yet with a good-natured smile, Hoyt consented, and to the great delight of the Princes and of all the spectators, he cleared it cleanly on the second trial at 3.30 meters.

    But beyond comparison, the most dramatic event, and the one upon which the Greeks had set their hearts, especially after Garrett of Princeton won the discus so unexpectedly on the first day, was the hard run of 40 kilometers, from Marathon. By closely contested preliminaries, the best Greeks had been selected to represent the nation. Out of eighteen starters twelve were Greeks, two were from France, and one each from Australia, Hungary, the United States, and Germany.
    Even the interest in the sharply contested pole vaulting could not hold the attention after the signal gun was fired, though it was known that the runner could not reach the Stadium for several minutes more. All rose from their seats and strained their gaze toward the entrance and the street leading to it from over the Ilissus. "Who is it?" "Is it a Greek?" "Ah, I home it's a Greek," were heard on all sides, not only from the Greeks themselves, but from groups of foreigners for all their genuine loyalty to their own representatives.

    The cavalry dashed down the street, clearing the way for the runner. But sound runs faster than man or horse, and before the runner was in the Stadium they had caught the cry, "It is a Greek!" "We win."
    The rest was quickly seen--the weary, yet steady, strides of the victor, till he made the goal. Seized by the two giant Princes, he passed the King, making a proud salute. A lady from Smyrna took off her own gold watch and chain and sent it to him by one of the aids. The host of people rolled the applause backward and forward. The hopes of the generous, hospitable Greeks were fulfilled. The sentiment of all was satisfied...

    Many wild stories have been started--some have found their way into the newspapers in the evening only to be denied in the morning. It was said that twenty-five, fifty, a hundred thousand drachmas had been given to the victor, whose name is Loues, a peasant of the village of Amarovsi, between Athens and Pentelikon. It was said, too, that the victor magnificently refused rewards, saying that he cared for none of them, only for the release of his brother from prison, and this good story made it necessary for Loues to defend the honor of his family by denying that his brother or any near kinsman had ever been in prison.
    It has been told in all soberness that Loues took the sacrament before starting from Marathon, with the solemn vow that he would either win or die. It is quite certain that only deliberate and violent suicide could have accomplished the latter alternative with Loues that day, for so thoroughly toughened has he become by his shepard's life on Mount Pentelikon, as well as by special training, that no amount of running could have killed him.

    It was quite different with the Australian, Flack, and Blake of the B. A. A., who easily had the lead when they collapsed, the latter after twenty-eight kilometers, the former after thirty-two. They exhausted themselves before they were really aware of fatigue while following the killing pace set by the Frenchman, Lermusiaux, as far as the half-way house, where he dropped out. All were in good condition the next day, however.
    Certainly no false or exaggerated story should detract from the hard-earned honor which belongs to Loues for running 40 kilometers over a rather trying road in 2 hours 58 minutes 50 seconds. The second and third men were also Greeks, Basilakos and Belokas, who came in close together, 8 minutes after the winner.

    Great attention is being shown the athletes, especially the Americans. Saturday they took dinner on the United States steamship San Francisco. Sunday they lunched with the King, and had receptions in their honor on Monday and Tuesday...
TIME Magazine, April 6, 1953, p. 58:

SPORT: "The Greatest Athlete"
    Jim Thorpe was born in a one-room log cabin near Prague, Okla. Jim's Indian mother—his father was half Irish—gave him the Sac and Fox tribal name Wa-Tho-Huck, meaning Bright Path. He was a muscular (5 ft. 11 in., 185 lbs.) youngster of 19 when he caught the eye of Football Coach Glenn ("Pop") Warner at the Carlisle (Pa.) Indian school. Pop Warner made Jim Thorpe into a football player, and Jim Thorpe made Pop's Carlisle Indians famous. One of Jim's biggest football thrills: "Running back two straight kickoffs for touchdowns against Army [and a cadet halfback named Ike Eisenhower] in 1912." In the Olympics that year, with hardly any formal training, Jim won both the pentathlon and the decathlon. When Jim stepped up to receive his trophies from Sweden's King Gustaf V, the King said: "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world." Jim's reply: "Thanks, King."

    The world's greatest athlete returned home a hero. Then it was discovered that Jim had played summer baseball in 1909 and 1910—for $25 a week. That made Jim a professional. When a stern-eyed Amateur Athletic Union demanded that Jim return his Olympic medals and trophies, Jim meekly handed them over.

    "Let the Old Indian Run." Since he had unwittingly become a professional, Jim tried to make the most of it. In 1913 he signed with the New York Giants as an outfielder, played off and on in the National League until 1919. But it was as a pro footballer that Jim made his fame, if not his fortune. A longtime star of the Canton (Ohio) Bull Dogs, he ended his playing days in 1929, a tough old man of 41. Knute Rockne liked to recall one pro game against Thorpe. Playing end, Rockne twice crashed through the blocking backs and dumped Jim for a loss. "Rock," said Jim, "do you see all those people in the stands? They're here to see the Old Indian run. Be a good boy, Rock, and let the Old Indian run." On the next play, Thorpe went right through Rockne for a touchdown. When Rockne came to, he looked up into Thorpe's grinning face. Said Jim: "That's a good boy Rock. You let the Old Indian run."

    "I'll Come Out of This." Thorpe tried his hand at golf (low 80s), bowling (over 200), was proficient at hockey, lacrosse, swimming, rifle shooting, squash, handball and horsemanship. He was even pretty good with bow & arrow. But two years after he hung up his cleats, a reporter discovered him working with a pick & shovel for $4 a day. Jim's fondness for firewater had helped to get him in the fix. Ever a happy optimist, Jim figured, "I'll come out of this, and I'll do some saving when I do." Ten years later—after Jim had sold the movie rights to his life story for $1,500—his second wife charged him with "excessive drinking," divorced him and got custody of their four sons.

    From then on, Jim made the papers now & again as a night watchman, an able-bodied seaman, movie extra, lecturer, bouncer. He had a heart attack in 1943, another in 1952. In 1951 he turned up as a charity patient in a Philadelphia hospital for an operation on a lip cancer. Pro baseball and other groups raised a little money to get Jim back on his feet. Last week, in his auto trailer outside Los Angeles, the Old Indian, 64, had his last heart attack.

ESPN SportCentury Bio: James Francis Thorpe