Anyone passing by the Jim Thorpe Mausoleum on the east side of the town in recent weeks may be a little curious about a tall tarp-covered object standing near the highway.
While many people already know what stands there, for the curious, the mystery will end tomorrow, as the tarp is removed.
What will be unveiled is a second bronze statue of Jim Thorpe sponsored by the Jim Thorpe Sports Hall of Fame. But in what athletic pose will the greatest athlete of the 20th century be portrayed?
For the answer to that question, visit the Jim Thorpe Mausoleum at 10 a.m. when the statue will be unveiled and dedicated during ceremonies honoring Jim Thorpe's 123rd birthday.
The ceremonies, on the extensively relandscaped grounds of the mausoleum, mark the start of the 15th annual Birthday Celebration honoring the "Athlete of the 20th Century."
He was the only Olympian ever to win gold medals for both the Pentathlon and Decathlon in the same Olympics.
This outstanding athletic feat at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden earned Jim Thorpe the compliment from Sweden's King Gustav of "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world."
Native Americans, including Don "Wild Eagle" Wuebber, will be present to perform Native American dances and ceremonies.
The master of ceremonies will be George "Chuck" Hanna and singing the national anthem will be Rebekah McFadden.
Among the honored guests will be Jim Thorpe's grandson Michael Koehler, who has also had an extensive and accomplished athletic and academic career.
He has been as a teacher, coach, counselor, writer, public speaker, educational administrator and a college professor.
There will also be several former Olympians present among the honored guests. They are: Cynthia Stinger, U.S. Olympic Committee Manager Olympians Association; Brenda Borgh Bartlett, Pennsylvania Olympian (1976 Olympic Team Swimming Member); J.K. Smith, 1948 Rowing Team Gold Medalist; and Steve Kirk, Pennsylvania Olympian (1984-1988 Olympic Team Member)
Also present and making comments will be Michael Sofranko, mayor of Jim Thorpe; Charles Getz, Carbon County commissioner; The Honorable John T. Yudichak, Pennsylvania state senator; Doyle Heffley, Pennsylvania state representative; Keith R. McCall, former speaker of the Pennsylvania House; Candice Kelly, news anchor WBRE-TV 28; Sofia Ojeda, news reporter WNEP-TV 16; and Kim Bell, general manager Blue Ridge Communications TV 13.
Also among the honored guests will be Ann Marie Fitzpatrick, member, chamber of commerce; Ray Brayder, member, chamber of commerce; Chuck Gentile, sports director, Carlisle U.S. Army War College; and Elizabeth Knouse, director of Family Morale, Welfare & Recreation Carlisle U.S. Army War College.
Members of the Jim Thorpe Sports Hall of Fame Committee are: Jack Kmetz, president; Jim Zurn, vice president; Ron Sheehan, secretary; Craig Zurn, treasurer; Amy Behrens, administrative secretary; Randy Rabenold; Angie Konstas; Charles Getz; Wilmer Redline; Dave Zurn; and Don Herman.
Special Olympics of Carbon County will host a track and field competition at the Jim Thorpe Area High School stadium as part of the Birthday Celebration Weekend on Saturday, with athletes from Columbia, Montour, and Luzerne counties also attending.
At 11 a.m., the Olympian Cross Country and Track Team will carry a torch from the mausoleum to the high school stadium to light the Olympic torch for the Special Olympics Track and Field competition and then head down Route 903 to the Heights, down Opera House Hill, and then down Broadway to Josiah White Park for the lighting of the Olympic torch there.
The Jim Thorpe Council of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring activities celebrating the 15th annual Jim Thorpe Birthday Weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend includes free musical performances, Native American folklore, dancing and drumming, craft and food vendors, a clown for the children, a Chinese auction, and a headline show at the Mauch Chunk Opera House with the fast-rising singer-songwriter Todd Snider on May 21.
For more information, contact Fitzpatrick, event coordinator, at (570) 325-9281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.