Andrew Sockalexis of Old Town's Indian Island made Maine history with a fourth place finish in the men's grind in the 1912 Games at Stockholm.
The first Mainer to qualify and compete in any Olympic event, Sockalexis also made the state's best-ever male showings in the famed Boston A.A. Marathon when he was runner-up in 1912 (to Mike Ryan, later Colby track coach) as well as in 1913.
Sockalexis, cousin of another Indian Island legend, Louis, Holy Cross College and Cleveland Indians diamond star, was clocked in 2:42:07 at Stockholm and was reported as looking "fresh and strong" after finishing five minutes behind the winner, South Africa's K.K. MacArthur.
His father Francis, a noted runner known for his endurance, was his model and first coach. Andrew as a youngster would watch Francis run five-hour races on a sawdust track, four inches deep and one yard wide, in the Island's small Tribal Hall.
Andrew started running in earnest at age 10 on a track built by his dad encircling their home. As a winter variation, he ran on the frozen Penobscot River.
Tom Daley of Bangor and University of Maine mentor Arthur Smith were his coaches.
After his Olympic and Boston runs, Andrew kept to a busy schedule. Always a drawing card - both to idolizing fans and respectful opponents - he felt he had an obligation to compete or give exhibitions.
In his last race, in 1916, a 15-miler from the Island to Bangor's Bass Park, despite suffering from a heavy cold, he defeated a good friend, the famed Clarence DeMar - who was to win a record seven Boston Marathons - by 200 yards only to cough up blood and collapse at the finish.
Sockalexis developed TB, a disease that had plagued his family, shortly thereafter. He died August 16, 1919.
Maine Sports Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 2
Cumberland, ME 04021
Phone (207) 807-7666
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1972 for the purpose of: 1) appointing and bestowing recognition awards and scholarships to outstanding Maine high school scholar-athletes; and, 2) to formally honor and memorialize Maine athletes and sports figures who have brought distinction and honor to the state of Maine.