Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics

May 25, 2012–September 03, 2012
Washington, DC

This exhibition features Native athletes who have provided some of the most dramatic moments in Olympic history. Special attention is given to the 1912 Games in Stockholm, whose centenary we celebrate in 2012, and in which Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox ) won both the Pentathlon and the Decathlon (a feat not since accomplished); Duke Kahanamoku (Native Hawaiian) won the 100 Meter Freestyle; Andrew Sockalexis (Penobscot) placed fourth in the Marathon; and Lewis Tewanima (Hopi) won the Silver medal and set an American record for the 10,000 Meters, which stood for more than 50 years until another American Indian, Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), won Gold in Tokyo in 1964.

Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) performs at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm (detail). Photo courtesy of the Olympic Museum.

Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) performs at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm (detail). Photo courtesy of the Olympic Museum.

Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) performs at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Photo courtesy of the Olympic Museum.

Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox) performs at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Photo courtesy of the Olympic Museum.

Visit the Smithsonian magazine site to read "Why Are Jim Thorpeā€™s Olympic Records Still Not Recognized?" (July 2012), and view a video of Smithsonian conservators preparing an iconic box of cereal for display in this exhibition.
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