The Gun that Won the West…
With the capture of the Wild Bunch in 1896, gunfights in the Old West were winding down just as a different type of gun battle was heating up. For that was the year the first modern Olympics were held in Athens, following a 1502 year hiatus.
American born John Paine convinced his gunsmith brother Sumner to enter the shooting competition with him. The two landed in Greece armed with an arsenal of weapons, including colt revolvers and three thousand rounds of ammunition.
Like all American athletes, they were in for a shock. Greece went by the Orthodox calendar which meant it was April 5th in Greece and only March 25th in America. Instead of having two weeks to prepare for competition, as planned, American athletes had only eight hours. Fortunately, that was all John and and his brother needed.
…Also Won the Crown
When the brothers were told that their Stevens 22s were “not usual” and inadmissible, the brothers switched to colt 45s. John easily won the military gun contest with his colt. In fact, he won so easily he thought it unsporting to continue and withdrew from the other events so as not to embarrass the host. (Can you imagine anyone doing that today?) That left his brother to win the free pistol event, making them the first siblings to win medals in an Olympic event.
The brothers’ shooting skills were given less credit than the whiskey they sipped between rounds to relieve tension. Thinking booze would give them the winning edge, other marksmen started sporting flasks.
Since gold was considered “crass” first place winners went home with a silver medal and a crown of olive leaves. I don’t know what John or Sumner did with their crowns, but the medal came in handy.
Several years later in 1901, Sumner found his wife in bed with his daughter’s music teacher. He chased the man away with four pistol shots and was arrested for assault. When the police learned he won an Olympic medal for shooting, they decided he must have missed on purpose and released him.
So are you planning to watch the Olympics this year? What is your favorite Olympic sport?
Okay, here I go again; I’m not going to get hooked on the Olympics. I won’t. Absolutely not. This year I mean it. Not going to do it. Nope!
Kindle Special $2.99!
Anything can happen when posing for Lucy–and not all of it good!
To order click cover