The Olympic Legends Jim Thorpe, Florence Griffith Joyner and Mark Spitz

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The Olympic Legends Jim Thorpe, Florence Griffith Joyner and Mark Spitz

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 protégé, 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.
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