National Geographic : 1964 Oct
Olympic symbol, five interlocking rings, originally represented five continents; now it stands for international friend ship. Ring colors include at least one hue from the flag of every competing nation. 0 MI 100 STATUTEMILES ENLARGED AT LEFT Let the games be truly international, others. The Olympic records were changed to eliminate all references to Thorpe and to award first places to the runners-up. Thorpe died at Lomita, California, in 1953 at the age of 64. Three years earlier, an Asso ciated Press poll named him the greatest foot ball player and the greatest all-round athlete of the first half of the 20th century. No one ever approached his score in the pentathlon -c onsisting of the broad jump, discus and javelin throws, 200-meter sprint, and 1,500 meter run-from the time it was introduced in 1906 until it was discontinued after 1924. The military, or modern, pentathlon, was first held in 1912 at Stockholm. It consists of fencing, shooting, swimming, cross-country running, and cross-country riding. In the first military pentathlon, the U. S. was represented by a young lieutenant named George S. Patton, Jr., later to achieve fame as the dashing field general of World War II. He placed fifth in a field of 32. The decathlon was added in 1912, and since discontinuance of the track-and-field pentathlon it has become the standard for all round excellence. It includes four pentathlon events-running broad jump, discus, javelin, and 1,500-meter race-plus a 100-meter sprint, high jump, pole vault, shot put, 110 meter high hurdles, and 400-meter run. 506 urged De Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics. Beginning in 1932, the United States has held a monopoly of the Olympic decathlon, twice finishing one-two-three and producing the only double winner, Californian Robert Mathias in 1948 and 1952 (page 500). Avery Brundage, the multimillionaire Chi cago builder and renowned collector of Orien tal art who heads the International Olympic Committee, represented the United States in both pentathlon and decathlon in 1912 and three times won the national all-round cham pionship. Today, at 77, Avery Brundage is the powerhouse of Olympic leadership (page 512). Officially, there is no team winner, since the Olympic fathers frown on all methods of scoring the results nationally as contrary to the spirit of the games, which are intended to glorify the athletes. Nonetheless, from the be ginning, various team scoring systems have prevailed, usually to suit national customs and preferences. Without claiming any originality or copy right, I compiled team scoring for track and field on a 10-5 -4 -3-2 -1- basis in reporting the 1928 games at Amsterdam for the Associated Press. Others followed suit, and it is now gen erally considered the unofficial standard, since it has the combined advantage of put ting a premium on winning the gold medal and providing a more balanced team tally.