The weather is co-operating with the forecast. We had the frontal boundary sag down our way and trigger some pretty good thunderstorms in the northern part of the viewing area. As it sagged down into the metro, an upper low from the southwest…perhaps an MCV…came across bringing pretty good storms to the southwest. Biggest problem with this stuff was the heavy rain with some flooding problems in Jackson and Lawrence Counties. All of that is out of the way…high pressure will build in and shove out the clouds by Wednesday afternoon. Much drier and cooler air will take hold. Thursday look for a cool start and warm afternoon. Friday, the humidity returns as we move to the mid 80′s. On Saturday, we are hot and humid as another front comes down. The timing is a bit in flux but I would think that this system may provide a better chance for strong thunderstorms than the last one. I”m not going to worry about it at this point. Snow White and I will probably be found sculling on the river.
Jose Canseco…the man who helped to bring steroids into the game of baseball then helped to reveal to the world the MLB steroid scurge, now has a new way to keep his name in the headlines…though the headlines this time may be on page 17-C. He is going to box another former athlete.
On This Date In History: King Gustav V of Sweden said to Jim Thorpe, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world” following Thorpe’s performance at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Two things are funny about the famous utterance that would precede just about every Thorpe appearance for the rest of his life. First off, Thorpe had tried to walk away but before he could, the king reached out and grabbed his hand. Then, after the comment, Thorpe simply said, “Thanks King!” The king then gave Thorpe a silver chalice in the shape of a Viking ship lined with gold and embedded with jewels
James Francis Thorpe was born on this date in 1887 in what was then the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. They say he was 5/8 Indian…whatever that means. He was the great-great grandson of Black Hawk, the famous chief of the Sauk tribe that fought valiantly to preserve the tribes land against the European settlers in Illinois. Black Hawk was known to be a tough and courageous warrior, though it is unknown what kind of football player he was. But he great-great grandson was one of the best ever and then some.
Thorpe not only won the Decathlon AND the Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics, he did so by finishing first in every single event except the Javelin. He played football at Carlisle Industrial Indian School under Pop Warner where he became and All-American. He played professional football and became the commissioner of what was to become the NFL. While he was playing pro-football, he also played Major League Baseball for John McGraw’s fabled New York Giants and the Cincinnati Reds. He was known world wide and still is today. He became an active spokesman for Indian affairs, had a dance troupe. At age 58, he showed his patriotism by joining the merchant marine toward the end of World War II.
But, like many American heroes, Thorpe’s tale of triumph has a tragic side. A year or so after he returned to New York to a ticker tape parade, a newspaper reported that Thorpe had played for a semi-pro baseball team while he was in college for two years. I think he made something like $60 a month. Thorpe said he was just a poor Indian kid who didn’t know that was against the rules. Well, the AAU and the US Olympic Committee as well as the International Olympic Committee all came down on Thorpe and took his medals away and struck his records from the books. They even took back the Viking Ship! In 1950, he was voted the best athlete of the first half of the 20thcentury by the Associated Press. By that time, Sports Illustrated says he was a bloated alcoholic living in a trailer. He died of a heart attack in 1953 with very little to his name, not even his gold medals.
From 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage served as the head of the International Olympic Committee and he staunchly held firm in preventing Thorpe from being reinstated, even after he died. Brundage used the old “ignorance is no excuse” routine. Brundage died in 1975 and in 1982, the IOC changed course and said it had erred in taking Thorpe’s medals. His records were put back in the books and by the end of the century, he was again honored as, not just the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century, but of the entire 100 year span.
Here’s the kicker. It is speculated that Brundage held a racial grudge against Thorpe. That is probably up for debate….but here is a more specific fact. Avery Brundage did have an ax to grind against Thorpe. You see….the man who ate Thorpe’s dust in 1912 by coming in 6th in the Pentathlon and 15th in the Decathlon was none other than, Avery Brundage.
Oh…and by the way…there’s a town in Pennsylvania called Jim Thorpe.