The belligerence of 1908 was replaced with benevolence four years later, as Sweden provided a well-organized and pleasant haven for the troubled Games.
And then there were Jim Thorpe and Hannes Kolehmainen.
Thorpe, a 24-year-old American Indian who was a two-time consensus All-America football player at Carlisle (Pa.) Institute, won the two most demanding events in track and field–the pentathlon and decathlon. And he did it with ease. “You sir,” said the Swedes' King Gustav V at the medal ceremony, “are the greatest athlete in the world.” To which Thorpe is said to have replied, “Thanks, King.”
Kolehmainen, a 22-year-old Finnish vegetarian, ran away with three distance events being run for the first time–the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races and the 12,000-meter cross-country run. He also picked up a silver medal in the 12,000-meter team race.
Ralph Craig of the U.S. was the only other winner of two individual track gold medals, taking both the 100 and 200-meter runs. The 100 final had seven false starts, one with Craig sprinting the entire distance before being called back.
Although Thorpe returned to the U.S. a hero, a year later it was learned that he had played semi-pro baseball for $25 a week in 1909 and 1910. The IOC, with the full support of the American Olympic Committee, stripped him of his medals and erased his records.
The medals and records were restored in 1982–29 years after Thorpe's death.
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