A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  July 15, 2002 at 3:04 AM
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Today is July 15.

Led by the awesome talent of Jim Thorpe, the United States team took more medals than any other nation at the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912. Thorpe, who excelled in football (two-time college all-America running back) and baseball as well as track and field and often had been hailed as the best all-around athlete in American history. Swedish King Gustav went one step further when he labeled him "the greatest athlete in the world" after his impressive gold medal-winning efforts in the pentathlon and decathlon, setting a record in the latter that stood for two decades. But, Thorpe later admitted he had played semi-pro baseball two years earlier and since it would be many years before professionals could compete alongside amateurs, he was forced to return his medals and his achievements were erased from Olympic records. After a long battle his medals were restored in 1982 -- 29 years after his death.

It was on this date in 1971 that President Nixon announced plans to make an unprecedented visit to China. He made the historic trip in February 1972. Composer John Adams later immortalized the journey in the opera "Nixon in China."

The search for multiple murder suspect Andrew Cunanan focused on Miami on this date in 1997 when Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot to death on the steps of his beachfront mansion. Cunanan was already wanted in four other killings committed in the Midwest and East since April. A week later, Cunanan was found dead on a houseboat -- apparently dying by his own hand.

And in 1991, a former POW of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War released a photograph showing three U.S. servicemen, missing in Southeast Asia, holding a sign dated May 25, 1990. The veracity of the photo has never been proven, although many considered it further evidence that Hanoi continues to hold Americans from the Vietnam War.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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