Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Roller-coaster life of Indian icon, sports' first star

July 15, 1912: Jim Thorpe reigns at Games

One was a well-to-do Scandinavian royal, the other an unassuming American athlete born in a one-room cabin in rural, destitute Indian territory. On July 15, 1912, in Stockholm, few could question who ruled the day.

"Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world," said Sweden's King Gustav V.

"Thanks, King," Jim Thorpe replied.

Thorpe had just captured a gold medal in the decathlon, his second after winning the pentathlon days earlier -- remarkably winning eight of the two events' 15 individual segments.