CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, a 40-year-old tradition returned to Cumberland County last week: the beloved "Jim Thorpe Sports Days" event kicked off on April 28 at Army War College in North Middleton Township.
Since 1979, the school has hosted the games that honor Jim Thorpe, the first Native American athlete to win a gold medal for the United States at the Olympics. According to ESPN, he was also dubbed "The Greatest Athlete of the First Half of the Century" by the Associated Press for his triumphs in track and field (his Olympic sport), football, and baseball.
Thorpe's athletic ties to Cumberland County lie at the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where he played football.
Army War College hosted four other military schools for the event: Air War College, Naval War College, the National Defense University, and the Eisenhower School of National Security.
The schools competed in 11 total events ranging from soccer to softball to volleyball.
Organizers say they felt refreshed and excited to have the games back.
"We really needed this again," Dave Max, who works on the planning committee of the event," said. "Just seeing the energy and the friendships that we built over the months with the other colleges too, it makes it all worth it."