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Army ‘Keeps the trophy here’ - after annual Jim Thorpe Sports Days April 20-22

A colorful opening ceremony kicked off the Jim Thorpe Sports Days competition Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m. on Carlisle Barracks’ historic Indian Field where Jim Thorpe and others once displayed the teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness that inspires the athletic games at Carlisle.

The colorful ceremony included a 13-gun salute from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard; a color guard from Cumberland Valley High School Junior ROTC; an Olympic-style walk-on with the athletes of every school; the National Anthem, welcome remarks from Maj. Gen. Bill Rapp, Army War College Commandant; remarks from Neal McCaleb, Ambassador at large for the Chickasaw Nation; a torch relay lap around the track, and lighting of the cauldron.

"It is upon this field that Jim Thorpe first began to demonstrate his physical prowess as a great football player and in track and field events, and it is right and appropriate that we should gather here today in his memory and in respect to his accomplisments," said McCaleb.

This year teams from the U.S. Army War College, National War College, the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, and the Air War College are competing in the three-day competition with the winner awarded the Commandants’ Cup.

Sporting events include golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball, trap and skeet, men’s and women’s relays, cycling and a 5K run.

Students from these senior service schools average 22 years of military service and 42 years of age. Also competing are international officers from each of the schools.

Immediately following the torch lighting was the men’s and women’s one-mile relay team competition on the Indian Field track.

Kids activities are planned for Sat, April 21, 9 a. to noon near Indian Field and will include a bounce house, soccer, corn hole and more.

The event will close with an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 on Indian Field. If there is inclement weather, the ceremony will move to the Root Hall Gym.

The games will run from April 20-22. A schedule, results and photos will be posted at


Overall Standings:

Army:                     92
Eisenhower:           68
National:                58
Air War College:    42
Women's 1 Mile Relay, Winner Air War College

Air War College took 1st with a time of 5:41, Army War College walked away with 2nd, Eisenhower with 3rd, and National took 4th.

Men's 1 Mile Relay, Winner National

The National War College came in 1st with a time of 4:12. Army took 2nd, Eisenhower with 3rd, and the Air War College 4th.

Softball Game 1, Winner Army

Army 36, Air War 10

Softball Game 2, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 15, National 5

Softball Game 3, Winner National

Air War 6, National 16

Softball Game 4, Eisenhower

Army 2, Ike 12

Softball Game 5, Army

National 12, Army 21

Softball Game 6, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 14, Army 4

Soccer Game 1, Winner National

Ike 1, National 2

Soccer Game 2, Winner Army

Air War 0, Army 4

Soccer Game 3, Winner Air War

Air War 2, Ike 1

Soccer Game 4, Winner Army

Army 4, National 3

Soccer Game 5, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 1, National 0

Soccer Game 6, Winner Army

Army 1, Ike 0

Basketball Game 1, Winner Army

Army 58, Air War 26

Basketball Game 2, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 43, National 35

Basketball Game 3, Winner National

National 56, Air 35

Basketball Game 4, Winner Army

Army 31, Ike 27

Basketball Game 5, Winner Eisnehower

Ike 35, National 25

Basketball Game 6, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 50, Army 49

Baskestball Game 7, Winner Army

Army 42, Ike 28

Volleyball Game 1, Winner National

Ike 0, National 2

Volleyball Game 2, Winner  Army

Air War 0, Army 2

Volleyball Game 3, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 2, Air War 0

Volleyball Game 4, Winner Army

Army 2, National 1

Volleyball Game 5, Winner National

National 2, Ike 0

Volleyball Game 6, Winner Army

Army 2, National 0

Tennis Game 1, Winner Army

Army 2, National 1

Tennis Game 2, Winner Eisenhower

Ike 3, Air War 0

Tennis Game 3, Winner Air War College

Air 2, National 1

Tennis Game 4, Winner Army

Army 3, Eisenhower 0

Tennis Game 5, Winner Air War College

Air 2, Ike 1

Tennis Game 6, Winner Army

Army vs Air

Cycling, Hill Climb: Winner Army, time 1:07:10

2nd Ike, time 1:17:44, 3rd National, time 1:18:45, 4th Air 1:22:07

Bowling: Winner Eisenhower, points 1,869

2nd National, points 1,598, 3rd Army, points 1,1546, 4th Air, points 1,464

Skeet, Winner Eisenhower, points 223

2nd Army, points 197, 3rd National points 166, 4th Air War, points 104

Trap, Winner Army, points 201

2nd National, points 189, 3rd Ike, points 180, 4th Air, points 139 

Golf, Winner Army, points 452

2nd Ike, points 462, 3rd Air, points 481, 4th National, points 577

5K Run, Winner Army

2nd Air, 3rd Ike, 4th National

Cycling Criterium, Winner Army

2nd National, 3rd Eisenhower, 4th Air


Why Jim Thorpe Sports Days?

Very early in its existence, organized physical exercise became a part of the Carlisle Indian School routine. The Jim Thorpe Gym, in use today, was built for the Indian School students' use.

The Carlisle Indian School first played collegiate football against Yale in 1896. Soon its teams were regularly playing Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Lehigh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Princeton. By 1897, Carlisle football was known throughout the country, a fame that garnered financial support. Baseball, track, and lacrosse teams were also well known. Some athletes were celebrated by the popular media, including Jim Thorpe, Charles 'Chief' Bender and Louis Tewanima -- and coaches and trainers, "Pop" Warner, Vance McCormick, and Wallace Denny.

Jim Thorpe, the school's greatest football and track and field athlete, won the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Because of the accomplishments of Thorpe and long-distance runner Tewanima, the Indian School accumulated more points at the1912 Olympics than any college or university in the United States.

About Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe was born circa May 28, 1888, near current-day Prague, Oklahoma. An All-American in football at the Carlisle Indian School, he won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics before his gold medals were revoked on a technicality. Thorpe played professional baseball and football, and sought an acting career after retiring from sports. He died on March 28, 1953, in Lomita, California.

Early Years and Schools

Jim Thorpe was born circa May 28, 1888, near current-day Prague, Oklahoma. A child of Sac and Fox and Potawatomi Indian bloodlines, as well as French and Irish roots, he was given the name Wa-Tho-Huk, meaning "Bright Path," but christened Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe.

Thorpe learned to hunt and trap prey at an early age, developing his legendary endurance via extensive excursions through Indian Territory. His aversion to the classroom was exacerbated by the early deaths of his twin brother and both parents, and his stints at the Haskell Institute in Kansas, the local Garden Grove school and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania were marked by long bouts of truancy.

As a student at Carlisle in the spring of 1907, Thorpe joined a track-and-field practice session on campus. Clad in his work clothes, he launched himself over a 5'9" high bar to break the school record, catching the attention of coach Pop Warner. Thorpe soon became the star of the track program, and with his athletic skills he also enjoyed success in baseball, hockey, lacrosse and even ballroom dancing.

However, it was football that propelled Thorpe to national renown. Starring as a halfback, place kicker, punter and defender, Thorpe led his team to a surprise victory over top-ranked Harvard in November 1911, and fueled a blowout of West Point a year later. Carlisle went a combined 23-2-1 over the 1911-12 seasons, with Thorpe garnering All-American honors both times.

Olympic Glory

Named to the U.S. team for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, Thorpe burst out of the gate by winning four of five events to claim the gold medal in the pentathlon. A week later he overwhelmed the field in the decathlon, winning the high jump, the 110-meter hurdles and the 1,500 meters despite competing in a pair of mismatched shoes. Finishing the three-day event with a total of 8,412.95 points (of a possible 10,000), a mark that bested the runner-up by nearly 700 points, Thorpe was proclaimed by Sweden’s King Gustaf V to be the greatest athlete in the world.

Thorpe was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City as part of his hero’s welcome home. However, a newspaper report the following January revealed that the Olympic champion had been paid to play minor league baseball in 1909 and 1910. Despite his handwritten plea to the Amateur Athletic Union, Thorpe was stripped of his amateur eligibility and forced to return his gold medals, his historic performance stricken from the Olympic record books.

Professional Sports Career

In 1913, Thorpe married his college sweetheart, Iva Miller, and signed to play professional baseball with the New York Giants. Troubled by the curveball, Thorpe batted just .252 over a six-year big-league career with the Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves, although he managed an impressive .327 average in his final year.

Thorpe made a much bigger impact in the early stages of pro football. He signed with the Canton Bulldogs for $250 per game in 1915, justifying the price tag by drawing massive audiences and leading the team to championships in 1916, '17 and '19. In 1920, the Bulldogs were among the 14 clubs that made up the American Professional Football Association -- soon to be renamed the National Football League -- with Thorpe serving as league president for a season. He went on to found the Oorang Indians, an all-Native American team that performed “war dances” and other rituals to entertain audiences, and also played for the NFL’s Cleveland Indians, Rock Island Independents, New York Giants and Chicago Cardinals through 1928.