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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Thorpe the King of pentathlon, decathlon
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

July 15, 1912

Having already won the pentathlon eight days ago at the Olympics in Stockholm, Jim Thorpe adds to his collection of gold by completing his victory in the decathlon. With 8,412 points, he breaks the world record by an incredible 998 points.

After seven events the previous two days, Thorpe held a sizeable lead. Then on the final day, he finished tied for third in the pole vault with a leap of 10 ft., 7.95 in.; takes third in the javeline with a throw of 149 ft., 11.2 in.; and wins the 1500 meters in 4:40.1, a personal best by more than four seconds. His final margin is 688 points over the runner-up, Hugo Wieslander of Sweden.

When Thorpe is introduced at the awards ceremony there is a great burst of cheers, led by King Gustav V. Besides the gold medals, Thorpe receives a jewel-encrusted chalice in the form of a viking ship (a gift from Czar Nicholas of Russia) for winning the decathalon and a life-size bronze bust of the Swedish king for capturing the pentahalon. In congratulating Thorpe, Gustav tells him, "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world."

Thorpe reputedly replies, "Thanks, king."

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