olympic atheletes

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James Francis “Jim” Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as “Bright Path”;[1] May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953)[2] was an American athlete of Native American ancestry. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football (collegiate and professional), and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateurism rules that were then in place. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals. Many rumor it being because of his native heritage but nonetheless one of the greatest of all time the last words his father uttered to him were “your an Indian,show all the other races what an Indian can do”

Winning the Race Against Time

This week’s Spotlight series features excerpts from Angela Jimenez’s new book, titled Racing Age. Jimenez has spent the last nine years traveling across the United States and Europe, photographing 81-year-olds jumping hurdles, 87-year-olds throwing discuses, and 76-year-olds pole vaulting. “Because they defy visual stereotypes, these athletes surprise us,” she said. “They are not weak, or vulnerable, or just cute: they are fierce and competitive. It is inspiring and brave, but can also be scary to see an older person push the body to its limits.” View the entire essay here.

A senior long jumper competes in the 80-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships Stadia (track and field competition) at Riccione Stadium in Riccione, Italy on September 6, 2007. (Angela Jimenez)

Pengxue Su, 87, of China, the oldest decathlete (and the only competitor in the 85-89 age division) competes in the discus, the second event on the second day of the men’s combined events, or decathlon, on August 6, 2015 at the Balmont Duchère stadium in Lyon, France (Angela Jimenez)

Flo Meiler, 81, of Shelburne, Vermont, left, crosses the finish line of the 800 meters, the final (and painful) event of the second day, ahead of Christel Donley, right, 80, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, winning the 80-84 age division of the women’s combined events, or heptathlon, and setting a new (pending, awaiting ratification) W80 world record on August 5, 2015 at the Laurent Gérin stadium in Venissieux, France.  (Angela Jimenez)

Johnnye Valien, 82, of Los Angeles, California, is photographed competing in the 80-84 age bracket women’s shot put during the 2007 World Masters Championships Stadia (track and field competition) at Misano Adriatico Stadium in Misano Adriatico, Italy, on September 7, 2007.  (Angela Jimenez)

Masters track and field triple jumper Manuel GarcÌa Carbajo, 72, of Spain, stretches between jumps at the World Masters Athletics Championship at the Stade du Rhône in Lyon, France on August 9, 2015.  (Angela Jimenez)

W65 masters track and field heptathletes Ingeborg Zorzi, of Italy, left, and Terhi Kikkonen, of Finland congratulate each other at the 200-meter finish line, the end of the first day of the women’s combined events, or heptathlon, on August 4, 2015 at the Laurent Gérin stadium in Venissieux, France. (Angela Jimenez))

Manuel Gonzalez Muòoz, 95, of Veracruz, Mexico, is photographed after finishing second in the 95+ age bracket men’s 100 meter finals during the 2007 World Masters Championships Stadia (track and field competition) at Riccione Stadium in Riccione, Italy on September 7, 2007. (Angela Jimenez)

Masters track and field athletes run in the M85 55-meter dash at the USATF Masters Indoor Nationals at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston, Massachusetts on February 23, 2008. (Angela Jimenez)

Axel Magnusson, 86, of Sweden, is photographed while competing in the 85-89 age bracket men’s long jump during the 2007 World Masters Championships Stadia (track and field competition) at Riccione Stadium in Riccione, Italy on September 6, 2007. (Angela Jimenez)