2012 Bison Books paperback edition

Monday, July 9, 2012

London Bound

A duplicate of the gold medals won by Thorpe at the 1912 Games

The 2012 London Olympics kick off July 27. It's going to be huge. The BBC has been all over me and anybody else connected with the history of the modern Olympic movement for at least the past twelve months. They are so psyched over there that I decided I would jump the gun and get a preview glimpse. 
     So I'm flying over the pond -- as old timers love to say, as if we're all camping out in a summer colony -- tomorrow. I'll be there from July 10-15. Just enough to have fun and check out the new stadium -- and to avoid the crowds.
     What interests me anyway is the history of sports -- how games started, why the mania, the passion. Thorpe astonished the world 100 years ago this summer and look at all that has happened since. Look where sports are now: the common passion of our time. We've come a long way. And, I argue in my biography of Thorpe, a certain intensity of feeling about athletes and their performance began with him, in Stockholm, that long century ago.
     Thorpe's two (duplicate) medals (see the biography for the full story) for the classic pentathlon and the decathlon are supposed to be on display at the USA House in London (aka the Royal College of Art in Kensington). I'm going to check that out and will report back...