30 years after his death, Finally, Sports Legend Jim Thorpe is Announced as the Sole Winner of the 1912 Olympic Gold Medals by IOC.
Jim Thorpe was a Native American athlete who was stripped of his medals a year after 1912. As of today, he is reinstated as the sole winner of the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics.
It was reported on Thursday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had changed its website to show Thorpe as the sole gold medal winner of the two events. The IOC officially announced the modification on Friday.
Thorpe participated in the decathlon and the pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic games. He won both, was welcomed internationally, and joined a ticker-tape parade for Olympic stars up Broadway in New York.
A year after the games were concluded, it was discovered he had made a small amount of money, amounting to $25 a week playing minor league baseball from 1909 to 1910. This is grounds for disqualification. Therefore, his title was stripped for violating amateurism rules.
According to ESPN, Thorpe was a Sac and Fox Nation member. Also, he was the first Native American to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
Pulitzer-winning journalist David Maraniss said, “This decision by the IOC is 110 years too late but better late than never.” “When Jim’s medals were withdrawn after his terrific performances in Stockholm, the move went against Olympic rules, common sense, and public opinion,” he added.
Rescinding Jim Thorpe’s medals was always a controversial matter. It has been heavily criticized over the past century. This incident has resulted from “a blend of racism and an obsessive devotion to the idea of amateurism.” This statement may hold some weight as racism was rampant during the 20th century.
Before Friday, Jim Thorpe was reinstated as co-winner of both events, Hugo Wieslander, who placed second in the decathlon, and Ferdinand Bie, who finished behind Thorpe in the pentathlon, the New York Times said.
However, supporters still pushed the IOC to grant Jim Thorpe the status of the sole winner of both events.
Jim Thorpe passed away in 1982. Thirty years later, it was announced that he would be reinstated as the sole winner of both the decathlon and pentathlon. Jim, may he rest in peace, has finally earned what was his from the last 110 years.
In Thorpe’s obituary, he was called. “possibly the greatest natural athlete the world had seen in recent times.”
Both Weislander and Bie were reluctant to accept the gold medal when Thorpe was stripped. As per the IOC, several linked parties for both Wieslander and Bie were contacted. They all agreed that Thorpe should have the title of the sole winner back.
Beyond being an Olympic gold medalist, Thorpe proceeded to play professional football and baseball.
Thorpe played major league baseball for the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds, and Boston Braves from 1913 to 1919. In 1920 he changed his preferred sport and began playing professional football with six teams. He played until he was 41.
Jim Thorpe is a member of the professional and college football Halls of Fame. In 1950, he was elected the most outstanding athlete of the first half of the 20th century in an Associated Press poll of sportswriters.