MAY 28, 1887


Born in Prague, Oklahoma, Thorpe’s name meant “Bright Path.  At Carlisle Indian School, he ran track and played football. He was an All-American running back in 1911 & 1912. In the 1912 Summer Olympics, he won the pentathlon & decathlon (setting the world record) and remains the only person to win both at the same Olympics. However, he was stripped of his medals in 1913 because he’d played minor league baseball for pay. Thorpe played for baseball’s New York Giants (1913-19) and for several pro football teams (1915-28). He later appeared in several movies.  In 1950, Associated Press named him the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century.  Thorpe died March 28, 1953, in Lomita, California.  He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame (HOF) in 1963, was named to its All 1920’s Team & 50th Anniversay All Time Team. The Olympic medals were restored in 1982.  In October 2018, Thorpe posthumously became one of the first class of inductees into the National Native American HOF.

Source:  “Jim Thorpe begins Olympic triathlon,” History, 11/16/2009.  Retrieved 7/5/2019,  
Photo:  Author unknown, circa 1912.  Public Domain.

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