Native American Olympic Athletes Saluted in exhibition at Indian Museum

As the 2012 Olympics begin in London, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has opened a special exhibit, “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics,” featuring Native-American athletes who have provided some of the most dramatic moments in Olympic history. It also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the 1912 Olympics 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-meter competition. Tewanima’s record stood for more than 50 years until another American Indian, Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), won Gold in Tokyo in 1964. Among the items on display are two gold medals won by Thorpe and the gold medal won by Mills. The exhibit is scheduled to run through Sept. 3. At Fourth Street and Independence Avenue, SW, the museum is located on the National Mall between the National Air & Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol.


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