Turning Back the Pages

America’s greatest athlete

Jim Thorpe from Oklahoma is now called the greatest American Olympian of all time. He breezed through the 15 events of the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 summer Olympics in Stockholm and won two gold medals, awarded to him by King Gustaf V of Sweden, to memorialize his name as America’s greatest athlete.

(Note: Jim Thorpe, a 5-foot, 8-inch Sac and Fox Indian, later had his medals taken away from him on a technicality when it was learned that he had at one time played semiprofessional baseball. Best known as a football player, he was born in 1888 and is remembered for promoting the General Mills cereal “Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions.” Actually, his favorite breakfast was said to be fried squirrel with creamed gravy. He died in 1953. His medals were restored posthumously in 1982.)

Hydroplane may smash records

Count Cassimer S. Mankowski of Bolton Landing will shortly enter his new hydroplane “Ankledeep’ in the race for the gold challenge cup to be run Aug. 1, 1912 on Lake George. The count has recently been elected a member of the Lake George Regatta Association. Count Mankowski also expects to enter his boat in the international races to be held on Long Island Sound and then he will ship his boat west for events in Chicago. He is quite confident of his success, barring some untold accident.

Ankledeep is 32 feet long with a six-foot beam, built of mahogany in two layers with canvas between. She has two 150 h.p. 8-cylinder motors built into the stern of the boat by the Sterling people of Buffalo. When running at her speed of 42 to 45 miles per hour, she burns 40 gallons of gasoline per hour from her four gas tanks. She is finished in natural wood and is a beautiful creation to behold. (Note: Count Mankowski was to Lake George what Rudolph Valentino was to Hollywood -- the ladies adored him. The dashing Polish adventurer resided with his countess (the former Miss Bixby) at Tallwoods, the property that was later to become the Contessa Motel and Restaurant, just north of Bolton Landing. It cost Mankowski $15,000 to build Ankledeep, a tremendous amount of money in those days and with his boat he became a Lake George legend. He disappeared some time after 1915 and is believed to have died of pneumonia.)

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