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Game Faces - Part 4

Exhibit logoOur World

Sporting events sometimes make the world seem a little smaller. People from different countries come together on the field of competition.

Ladies, Toss Your Pancakes!

Two towns on different continents engage in an unlikely competition that brings their communities together.  Olney, England, and Liberal, Kansas, have held an annual "pancake race" on Shrove Tuesday since 1950.

Annual Pancake Race in Liberal, 1960s

The women of both towns race at separate times.  Finishing times are compared by phone, and prizes are awarded to the winner of this international competition.

Pancake Race contestants are required to wear a skirt, apron, and head-covering, and carry a pancake and griddle.  Runners are required to flip their pancakes twice—at the beginning and end of the race.

"It's our first trip to Liberal and we’re overwhelmed because it's such a wonderful event. . . . We really feel we have a relationship with the folks in America."
-- Susan Heron, Olney, England, 2002

Wes Santee's track shoe from 1952 Helsinki OlympicsThe Olympics: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

The Olympics allow the best athletes in the world to compete for a shot at glory. 

These athletes represent not only their country, but also their home state.  Kansans take pride in seeing one of their own on the world stage.

Glenn Cunningham ran the 1,500 meter race in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics, winning a silver medal in the latter.  Cunningham wrote this letter from the Olympic village in Berlin to an acquaintance.  In it he speaks of his wish for some Kansas heat. 

This is one of the track shoes worn by Wes Santee to run the 5,000 meter race in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.  While he didn’t medal, Santee was considered a premier miler at the time.  

James Naismith, inventor of basketball, at the University of Kansas, 1920sA New Game

Did you know basketball is the U.S.'s gift to the sports world?

James Naismith invented the game while teaching in Massachusetts in 1891.  Seven years later he came to the University of Kansas and spent the rest of his life in Lawrence.

Basketball has been played around the world almost since its birth. 

"No man can derive more pleasure from money or power than I do from seeing a pair of basketball goals in some out of the way place."—James Naismith, Lawrence


Game Faces: Kansans in Sports is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Introduction - There's no "I" in "Team"
  2. Our Town - Cheering on the home team
  3. Our Team - Fan is short for fanatic
  4. Our World - Sports make the world a little smaller
  5. Our Traditions - Some games reinforce our roots
  6. Our Friends - Socializing can be as important as competition

Audio Tour

Listen to the curators' Game Faces audio tour online or download it to your mp3 player!

Contact us at KSHS.KansasMuseum@ks.gov