Jim Thorpe's 1912 Olympic dominance & a London preview
July 27, 2012
Before the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics tonight, we look back to the remarkable Olympics 100 years ago in Stockholm, Sweden. Those games were a fascinating moment in time – differences from today’s Olympics included solid-gold medals, prizes for fine arts and 28 nations competing to today’s 204. Japan’s entry that year was Asia’s first, and featured a marathon runner who didn’t finish his race for 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds. But the 1912 Olympics are perhaps best remembered for the utter dominance in the debut Olympic pentathlon and decathlon of Jim Thorpe, the Oklahoma native of the Sac and Fox tribe who is still widely considered the greatest athlete of modern times. Joining us to describe those Olympics and Thorpe’s excellence is Olympics historian BILL MALLON, who joins us from London. We’ll also speak with KATE BUFORD, whose 2010 biography of Thorpe, “Native American Son,” captured the early successes and later-life tragedies of the proudest product of the controversial Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Indian School. And finally, NPR’s TOM GOLDMAN will lead us into the modern day with a preview of the most interesting stories at this year’s Olympics in London.