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The Extraordinary Tale of…

His awe-inspiring performances saw him race to glory, but something from Jim orpe’s past was about to dull the shine of his golden Olympics...


Perhaps history’s greatest all-round sportsperson, Jim Thorpe

American athlete Jim Thorpe already had a gold medal in the bag as he aimed for victory in the showpiece of the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the decathlon.

Showing no signs of fatigue from the pentathlon, where he triumphed in all but one event, he got off to a solid start in the gruelling ten disciplines. By the second day, orpe stood in a strong position – in the table at least, if not literally. Someone had stolen his shoes, so he had to complete the remaining events wearing a mismatched pair fished out of a bin. They were di erent sizes and one had to be padded with extra socks, yet nevertheless, orpe annihilated the rest of the field, winning three events. Finishing on 8,412.95 points (almost 700 ahead of his closest rival), orpe had just comfortably made the world’s best athletes look risibly average, but his Olympic glory wouldn’t last long.

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The January 2016 issue of History Revealed