Jim Thorpe Sports Days are back at Carlisle Barracks.

The multiday event opened Thursday night and brings together students from several military higher education institutions in the spirit of athletic competition.

“Athletic competition is a healthy thing,” said Thomas Zimmerman, public affairs officer for Carlisle Barracks. “We’re all competitive people.”

Students from the U.S. Army War College, Air War College, National War College and Eisenhower School of National Security and National Defense University will compete in events like golf, cycling, running, trap shooting and volleyball for the honor of hoisting the Commandants’ Cup.

The cup resides at the U.S. Army War College following its win last year, Zimmerman said.

“We’re hoping to keep the trophy here,” he said.

The events are open to the public and run through 1 p.m. Saturday when the cup is awarded.

Visitors who want to attend the games should stop at the Carlisle Barracks Visitors Center, 870 Jim Thorpe Road, to obtain a visitors pass.

Zimmerman said the event was created in 1974 to “honor the spirit of Jim Thorpe who competed on these fields” and has largely been held every year since.

The competition kicked off Thursday at 5 p.m. with an opening ceremony highlighted by a torch-lighting and remarks from Neal McCaleb, ambassador-at-large of the Chicksaw Nation.

“We continue to honor the memory of the Native American school that was here and Jim Thorpe,” Zimmerman said.

A 13-gun artillery salute was presented by the 108th Field Artillery Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard during the opening ceremonies.

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