Archives for posts with tag: Olympics

nadia
The Gymnast
by Sofia Kioroglou

     Running
          jumping,
               tumbling,
                    somersaulting,
                         flipping and
                              balancing.

Yes, I can do them all. My supreme performance on the rings has my mum fumbling for words. In my dreams, I am executing a challenging routine at the horizontal bar when you suddenly interrupt my stunt with your yelling voice. I don’t blame you. You just didn’t know a was working hard to win the gold medal on Sunday.

IMAGE: Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci performing on the uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where she won three gold medals.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always loved gymnastics and was quite captivated by the performance of great international male and female gymnasts. My favourite gymnastics sport has always been the rings and the horizontal bar. How I wished I had the agility and balance to do flips, jump, tumble and somersault. I suppose I can do all of them in my dreams.

SOFIA IN 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sofia Kioroglou is an award-winning poet, writer and prolific blogger residing in Athens, Greece, with her husband Peter. She remembers herself born with a quill in her hand writing poems and painting beautiful pictures. Her poems are included in many anthologies, including the Poetry Against Terror Anthology, the Poetry Against Inequality anthology, and a number of literary journals that include Verse-Virtual, Writink Page, Silver Birch Press, Halkyon Days, Ashvamegh, Fractal.gr, and Winamop. She was one of the winners of the Panhellenic Poetry Competition of Bonsaistories this June with her poem “Solidarity” She is a member of the Poets Unite Worldwide. To learn more about her work, visit sofiakioroglou.wordpress.com.

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Since I don’t own a TV and haven’t been watching the Olympics, I don’t know if the coverage has included segments about Jim Thorpe, the star of the 1912 games in Stockholm, Sweden. In a recent poll by ABC sports, Thorpe was voted the greatest athlete of the 20th century (besting Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan).

Of Irish, French, and Native American ancestry, Thorpe was born in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1888 and attended high school at the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Indian Industrial School, where he excelled in baseball, football, lacrosse, track and field, and even ballroom dancing.

At the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathalon — but a year later the Olympics committee stripped him of his records and medals. The committee contended that Thorpe was not qualified to compete as an amateur because he’d earned a few dollars per game when playing baseball during summers as a youth. After many attempts by many individuals, Thorpe’s Olympics records were reinstated in 1982 and his children were awarded commemorative medals (the originals were stolen from museums).

I first learned about Thorpe when viewing Jim Thorpe All American, the 1951 biopic starring Burt Lancaster. It’s a tearjerker, but enjoyable and elevating in its way. Find out more about the movie here.

I have avoided using the “R” word in this article — but you have to wonder if a European American would have been so treated in the wide, wide world of sports, even in 1912.

Note on the above photo: On the day Thorpe competed in the decathalon, someone stole his shoes. At the last minute, he found two worn-out shoes in a trash bin — and won a gold medal wearing the mismatched shoes, one of which was too large and required extra socks.