KING GUSTAV OF SWEDEN PRESENTS MEDALS
The presentation of medals at the 1912 Olympics took place the afternoon after the final event of the Games, the 1,500-meter run, which Thorpe won in stirring fashion. King Gustav of Sweden crowned each gold medalist with a laurel wreath as they came up to the dais to receive their medals.
When Thorpe received his pentathlon gold, the New York Times reported, the crowd gave "a great burst of cheers led by the King." For the decathlon, in addition to his medal, Thorpe was given a thirty-pound gold and jewel-encrusted chalice in the shape of a Viking ship and a bust of the king. His voice shaking with emotion, King Gustav grasped Thorpe firmly by the hand and said, "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world." Thorpe's simply replied, "Thanks, King."