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| Event type

Decathlon, Men

Date13 – 15 July 1912
StatusOlympic
LocationStockholms Olympiastadion, Stockholm
Participants29 from 12 countries
FormatScoring by 1912B point tables. The order of events was as follows: Day 1 (13 July) - 100 metres, Long jump, Shot put; Day 2 (14 July) - High jump, 400 metres, Discus throw, 110 metre hurdles; Day 3 (15 July) - Pole vault, Javelin throw, 1,500 metres.

Prior to 1911, the multi-event for track & field athletes was the all-around championship, a 10-event competition emphasizing strength events. But in preparation for the 1912 Olympics, the Swedes devised another 10-event multi-event with more emphasis placed on speed and jumping ability. The first known competitions in the decathlon were conducted on 15 October 1911, both in Münster, Germany (won by Karl von Halt) and Göteberg, Sweden (won by Hugo Wieslander). In June 1912, Wieslander won two further Swedish decathlons in preparation for the Olympic Games. He was the Swedish favorite.

The American favorite was a remarkable Native American named Jim Thorpe. A descendant of the Sac and Fox tribe and an Irish father, Thorpe had starred in both football and baseball, as well as track, at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He had never competed in a decathlon prior to Stockholm, but at the eastern U.S. Olympic Trial in the pentathlon, he was so dominant that he was named to represent the United States in both the decathlon and the pentathlon. The Stockholm decathlon was expected to be a closely fought contest between Wieslander and Thorpe.

It was not. One week after winning the pentathlon, Jim Thorpe won the decathlon by an almost laughable margin, establishing a new world record, and defeating Wieslander by almost 700 points. He won three events, had one second place, four thirds, and two fourths in the ten events. Using point-for-place scoring, he scored 25 points to Wieslander’s 67 and Charles Lomberg’s 75.

At the closing ceremonies, Thorpe was presented his trophies by Sweden’s King Gustav V. The legend is that the King told him, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world,” and that Thorpe replied, “Thanks, King.” Whether the legend is true or not, the King was correct. But from 1913 until 1982 the Olympic record books invariably listed Hugo Wieslander as the 1912 Olympic decathlon champion.

In January 1913, newspaper stories broke noting that Jim Thorpe had played minor league baseball in North Carolina in 1909 and 1910. The United States AAU reacted quickly and declared Thorpe a professional. The IOC followed suit. Thorpe’s Olympic victories were taken from him and he was ordered to return his medals and trophies.

But the story never died. For years, many efforts were made to right what many perceived as a wrong and have the medals, the trophies, and the recognition returned to Jim Thorpe or his family. The trophies included the Challenge Trophy for the decathlon, which had been donated by the Czar of Russia. In 1982, the International Olympic Committee made partial restitution when they restored Thorpe’s amateur status, and declared him, in an unusual ruling, co-champion with Hugo Wieslander.

The story of Thorpe’s disqualification, the many attempts to restore his name, and the final work done which succeeded, is a long and complicated one. See the Jim Thorpe bio for further details.

PosNrAthleteNOCPointsPoints (1912B Tables)100 metresLong JumpShot PutHigh Jump400 metresDiscus Throw110 metres HurdlesPole VaultJavelin Throw1,500 metres
1Jim ThorpeUSA8412.9557751.06011.26.7912.891.8752.236.9815.63.2545.704:40.1GoldWR1
2Hugo WieslanderSWE7724.4957062.60011.86.4212.141.7553.636.2917.23.1050.404:45.0Gold2
3Charles LombergSWE7413.5106751.61511.86.8711.671.8055.035.3517.63.2541.835:12.2Silver
4Gösta HolmérSWE7347.8556685.96011.45.9810.981.7053.231.7817.03.2046.284:41.9Bronze
5Jim DonahueUSA7083.4506421.55511.86.489.671.6551.629.9516.23.4037.094:44.0
6Roy MercerUSA7074.9956413.10011.06.849.761.6549.921.9516.43.6032.324:46.3
7Valdemar WickholmFIN7058.7956396.90011.55.9511.091.6052.329.7817.03.2542.584:43.9
8Erik KugelbergSWE6758.7806096.88512.36.209.981.6555.731.4817.23.0045.674:43.5
9Karl von HaltGER6682.4456020.55012.16.0811.121.7054.235.4617.72.7039.825:02.8
10Josef SchäfferAUT6568.5855906.69012.36.0411.501.5558.237.1418.93.2541.065:05.3
11Aleksandr SchultzRUS6134.4705472.57512.35.7510.081.5554.631.3417.82.7038.994:46.4
12Alfrēds AlslēbensRUS5294.6154762.32012.26.278.481.7059.029.2119.537.345:08.6
ACGeorge PhilbrookUSA12.46.3412.791.8056.741.5616.82.5041.67DNF
ACFerdinand BieNOR11.76.6910.201.6553.231.6516.42.9048.52DNF
ACFrank LukemanCAN11.26.149.291.7552.130.5216.32.70DNF
ACAvery BrundageUSA12.26.4011.121.7055.234.0717.12.90DNF
ACGéo AndréFRA11.65.609.901.7554.525.3716.4DNF
ACAlfredo PaganiITA12.45.839.671.6556.130.2017.2DNF
ACEinar NilssonSWE11.55.7212.831.70DNF
ACOtto RöhrGER11.36.439.811.70DNF
ACSkotte JacobssonSWE11.06.469.351.55DNF
ACGunnar RönströmSWE12.35.9910.691.60DNF
ACAlex AbrahamGER12.05.5211.291.50DNF
ACPierre FailliotFRA11.36.0510.54DNF
ACHarry BabcockUSA11.66.2910.16DNF
ACSvend LangkjærDEN12.05.899.86DNF
ACViktor HackbergSWE12.55.6410.30DNF
ACManlio LegatITA12.15.568.23DNF
ACMkrtich MkryanTUR13.35.4311.05DNF
DNSEugene SchobingerUSA
DNSJørgen Kornerup-BangDEN
DNSClément MentrelFRA
DNSEmmanuel TsaloumasGRE
DNSGiulio AlvisiITA
DNSFurio BiniITA
DNSPaul FournelleLUX
DNSNicolas KaniveLUX
DNSJean-Pierre ThommesLUX
DNSJindřich JirsákBOH
DNSAndré FoussardFRA
DNSRaoul PaoliFRA
DNSJosef WaitzerGER
DNSKostas TsiklitirasGRE
DNSUlrich BaaschRUS
DNSJulius WagnerSUI
DNSBertil UgglaSWE
DNSBoris HonzátkoBOH
DNSDick ByrdUSA
DNSJack EllerUSA
DNSAustin MenaulUSA