Pro Football HOFer Jim Thorpe Reinstated as 1912 Olympic Pentathlon, Decathlon Winner

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2022


The International Olympic Committee restored Jim Thorpe as the sole winner of the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics on Friday after his gold medals were stripped in 1913 because of amateurism rules.

Thorpe was one of the greatest all-around athletes in history, earning enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame while also playing Major League Baseball. However, his time playing minor league baseball before the 1912 Summer Games led to the IOC's original decision, according to the Associated Press.

A recent effort by Bright Path Strong, an organization formed to celebrate Thorpe, a Native American athlete, led to the reversal on the 110th anniversary of his triumph in the decathlon in Stockholm. Thorpe's Native name was Wa-Tho-Huk, meaning Bright Path, and he was a Sac and Fox Nation member and Citizen Potawatomi descendant.

"We welcome the fact that, thanks to the great engagement of Bright Path Strong, a solution could be found," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned."

Bright Path Strong @OurBrightPath

JUSTICE FOR JIM THORPE! <a href="https://t.co/mJwrqmcsV2">https://t.co/mJwrqmcsV2</a>

The IOC stated the decision received support from both the Swedish Olympic Committee and the Norwegian Olympic Committee. Sweden's Hugo Wieslander (decathlon) and Norway's Ferdinand Bie (pentathlon) were elevated to gold medalists after the Thorpe ruling.

Wieslander never accepted the gold medal, saying Thorpe was the legitimate champion, according to the Swedish Olympic Committee.

The athletes will be listed as the silver medalists behind Thorpe, and the IOC noted World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, also agreed to update its records.

Thorpe died in 1953 at age 65.


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