Olympic Legends Essay, Research Paper
There are many important Olympic athletes. Three of the most amazing, however, are probably Jim Thorpe, Florence Griffith Joyner, and Mark Spitz. These legends were suberb athletes as well, as amazing people.
Jim Thorpe was born on May 28, 1887 in a one-room cabin in Oklahoma. Although there is much confusion on Thorpe’s date of birth, this is the date according to his estate. The career biography of Jim Thorpe reads like an encyclopedia of sports, encompassing virtually every major athletic event available. In the 1912 Olympic Games at Stockholm, he won both the pentathlon and decathlon events. In the same year, he led his Carlisle Indian School team to the national collegiate championship, scoring 25 touchdowns and 198 points. Following the college football season, Thorpe went on to play 6 years of Major League Baseball. Meanwhile, he managed to lead the Canton Bulldogs football team to unofficial world championships in 1916, 1917, and 1919. When he eventually finished his playing days in 1928 with the Chicago Cardinals, Jim Thorpe had become an athletic attraction that crowds flocked to see. Thorpe died on March 28, 1953. In 1950, the nation’s press selected Jim Thorpe as the most outstanding athlete of the first half of the 20th Century and in 2000, he was awarded ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Century. Then came that grand summer of 1912. As a child, Thorpe became his athletic father’s prot?g?, at times running 20 miles home from school. “I never was content,” he said, “unless I was trying my skill in some game against my fellow playmates or testing my endurance and wits against some member of the animal kingdom.”
Florence Griffith Joyner was born December 21, 1959, in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the World’s Fastest Woman for her standing World Record times in the 100 and 200 meter events, Florence Griffith Joyner, elevated women’s track to a new level with her three gold and one silver medal-winning performances in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Growing up in Los Angeles, Joyner’s career was launched in 1964, at age five, when Joyner’s father challenged her to catch a jack rabbit, the fastest creature on the sand of the Mojave Desert. She was determined to meet the goal and she did. Her father was a great influence on her success. While much of her talent came naturally, Florence did train very hard. She would train intensely with her husband, fellow Olympian Al Joyner.
Mark Spitz was born was born on February 10, 1950. His parents, Lenore and Arnold Spitz, introduced him to swimming as soon as he could walk. His parents were important influences on his swimming success. When he was two years old, his father, a steel company executive, was transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii. Spitz’s training consited of swimming at Waikiki Beach every day. “You should have seen that little boy dash into the ocean. He’d run like he was trying to commit suicide.” Lenore Spitz told a reporter for TIME. He won two gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal in the 1968 Olympics. Many expected him to do better, but a bad cold had prevented him from doing so. Spitz won his first gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly in two minutes and seven-tenths of a second for a world record at the Munich Olympic Games on August 2, 1972. That same night, he won a second gold medal when his team established a. world record for the 400 meter free-style relay. The following day, he won his third gold medal. Again, he established a world record when he swam the 200 meter free-style in one minute and 52.78 seconds. He swam the 100 meter butterfly in 54.27 seconds to earn a world record and a gold medal on September 1. He then went on to anchor the United States 800 meter free-style relay team to victory for another gold medal. He won the 100 meter free-style in 51.22 seconds and swam the butterfly leg on the victorious United States team in the 400 meter medley relay for his seventh gold medal on September 3. He set another world record with his seven gold medals when he surpassed the record held by Italian fencer Nedo Nadi, who had won five Olympic gold medals in 1920.
I think these athletes are Olympic legends because of their impact on the sports they competed in. Jim Thorpe was amazing because of his diversity in athletics, and his dominance of track and field. Florence Griffith Joyner was great because of her flash and attitude, not to mention her amazing speed. Mark Spitz was a legend for his dominance of many swimming events, and his many medals and awards he attained. These legends will be remembered forever for their great achievements.
U.S. News, Sept. 4, 2000, p. 48-54, Duffy, Brian