MOUNT VERNON — The official on-line biography of Jim Thorpe states, “Describing Jim Thorpe as a great athlete would be doing him a severe injustice. A better description would be calling him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century.”
This label will probably be debated by many, but Thorpe’s accomplishments speak louder than words. King Gustav V of Sweden told Thorpe: “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.” At the tender age of 24, Thorpe sailed with the American Olympic team to Stockholm, Sweden for the 1912 Olympic Games. Remarkably, he trained aboard the ship on the journey across sea. He blew away the competition in both the pentathlon and the decathlon and set records that would stand for decades. Thorpe’s glorious Olympic wins were jeopardized in 1913 when it came out that he played two semi-professional seasons of baseball. During much of his baseball years, Thorpe was also immersed in professional football. He played for the Canton (Ohio) Bulldogs from 1915 until 1920.”
As the 7th season on Elixir’s Chautauqua Series continues, Jim Stoner will be making his first appearance of the season portraying the amazing athlete readers have probably heard of but didn’t really know much about. His abilities and disabilities, triumphs and tragedies, ancestry and the acts of discrimination he faced lead to an astounding Chautauqua story.
Opening for Thorpe today is storytelling songster Bob Ford.
The program is presented by Elixir Presents, on a donation basis. The event will be held at ThePlace@TheWoodward (111 S. Main Street) in downtown Mount Vernon, a first floor facility that is wheel chair, walker and stroller friendly. Doors open at 6 p.m. and program starts at 7. For more information on this and upcoming programs visit www.elixirpresents.com, www.VisitKnoxOhio.org or call 740-392-6102 or 740-392-3018.
Published on January 31, 2013