From time to time young children have shown quite extraordinary powers of strength and endurance, but probably no child in the world has exhibited these to the extent that little Francis Slevin has.
This remarkable youngster, though not 6 years old, stands today as the youngest athlete, having won that title at the famous baby parade held at Asbury Park last August.
Baby competitors from all part of the United States were entered for the contest, the number being well over 500.
When being judged "Baby" Slevin was represented as a sprinter, toeing the mark in a stooping position illustrating the start of a race. He wore the colors of the New York Athletic club, and was pronounced by the judges to be the most perfect physical competitor among all the contestants and was awarded a handsome silver loving cup almost as high as himself.
This baby athlete first came into prominence last June at the Knights of Columbus games, where he won a 25-yard "midget race," doing the distance in 10 seconds.
At the country fair held at Madison Square garden a few weeks ago he gave exhibitions of several 25-yard dashes, and received the first prize. He is the youngest member of the Athletic union, having been elected amid much enthusiasm January 15 last.
Francis Slevin was born December 19, 1900, in New York, his father being the champion sack runner of the world and the smallest athlete on the cinder path in the states today.
The boy's physical measurements are wonderful, and have been the subject of several discussions in various medical journals. That they are correct was proved by the writer, who is personally acquainted with the boy.
His height is 36 inches and he weighs exactly forty pounds. His reach is 34 inches, measurement of chest 24 inches (normal) and 26 inches (expanded), waist 22 inches, biceps 8 1/2 inches, neck 11 inches, foot 5 inches.
So remarkable is his development that the future holds out great possibilities for him. In addition to his athletic ability he is a footballer, a buck dancer, a bag puncher and a weight thrower. He is now being taught the art of boxing by a well known professor.
Another baby athlete only second in physical development to little Francis Slevin is August Goritz, the 8-year-old son of a trapeze artist, lately a member of the Biggest Show on Earth company.
This youngster can throw a double somersault as neatly as any adult acrobat, and he is, perhaps just as physically well equipped as young Slevin, though, of course, older.
He is remarkably clever on the trapeze, a daring bicyclist and an excellent boxer. For his age he is not phenomenal in size, but beautifully proportioned.
He has won prizes for foot races varying from twenty-five to 100 yards, in most of the principal cities of the Union, and is said to be the cleverest "baby" hammer thrower in the world.
One of little Goritz' smartest feats is to stand erect on his father's shoulders, throw a somersault and land six feet away on the shoulders of his mother, who is also in the "tumbling" business. He can curl himself into a ball and roll from one end of the ring to the other, climb a rope without the aid of his feet, and throw a somersault.
Los Angeles (California) Herald, August 1, 1906.