IOC reinstates Jim Thorpe as sole gold medalist in pentathlon, decathlon in 1912 Olympics

Jim Thorpe
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Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes in history, had his two gold medals from the 1912 Olympics restored by the International Olympic Committee.

Thorpe won the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Games. He was stripped of the medals in 1913 for violating the existing amateurism rules.

Thorpe played minor league baseball in 1909-10, earning $2 per game up to $35 per week, according to ESPN.

The Amateur Athletic Union in the United States deemed Thorpe a professional athlete, and the IOC unanimously stripped Thorpe of his medals. The move proved controversial, and the Native American community fought for years to have Thorpe’s wins restored as Thorpe was the first native American to win a gold medal.

The IOC Executive Committee reinstated Thorpe in October 1982 but ruled him a co-champion with Hugo Wieslander in the decathlon and Ferdinand Bie in the pentathlon.

This week’s ruling makes Thorpe the sole winner of the two events.

“This is a most exceptional and unique situation,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “It is addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the concerned National Olympic Committees.”

Thorpe played professional football from 1920-28, retiring at the age of 41. He was a member of the NFL’s first all-decade team in 1931 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

He also played professional baseball with the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves.

20 responses to “IOC reinstates Jim Thorpe as sole gold medalist in pentathlon, decathlon in 1912 Olympics

  1. Damage done. Stain on their own legacy is permanent. You cannot turn back the clock and undo any of the real human damage. This is more about making themselves feel better about themselves.

  2. For anyone who lives in the northeast, he also has a town named after him that’s about 90 minutes away from Philadelphia. You can take a train into town, spend the day walking around some local shops and eat\drink local food. The town is at the base of the Appalachian mountains, and if you go there between Sept and November, its a nice enough place to just hang out and enjoy the fall weather.

  3. Amazing athlete, amazing story.
    They stole his shoes during the decathlon so he found 2 mismatching ones in a garbage can. One was too big so he wore extra socks on one foot, then won the high jump and hurdles

  4. Thanks I guess, many decades overdue. I really don’t want to dive into the case of a truly downtrodden minority that has mostly overcome adversity without much social justice. Instead, had to endeavor to persevere. Just ask chief Dan George in outlaw Josey Wales.

  5. Not sure we had to take medals away from the other guys just to glorify him a bit more. They reinstated his in 1982, right? So now 40 years later what does this accomplish?

  6. By rules at the time he was a professional and ineligible. This is just a PR stunt because the World Championships are about to start in Eugene Oregon and no one in the US gives a damn. Not my words, Michael Johnson’s.

  7. The rules at the time were arbitrary and set up to help rich guys at the expense of any poor guy who might race all comers at a county fair and win a dollar for his trouble.

  8. I don’t like whitewashing history like this. The IOC should have to own this mistake forever. They waited far too long, Now they should have to own it.

  9. The IOC has no credibility anything to screw the United States Basketball, Boxing and on and on The IOC stand for Idiot Olympic Committee.

  10. What a mess! He obviously earned his medals; but what a mess! He took his gold medals on the podium, than his opponents were awarded them after the fact… then they were spliced… then the “former gold medalists” was stripped of the medals a century later. Just or in unjust… what a clown car!

  11. If I recall, the athletes who were given his medals didn’t accept them because they knew they weren’t the winners.

  12. An injustice finally corrected. In this case it really is better late than never.

  13. A mistake is corrected after years. And last week I rode a train pulled by a steam locomotive to the beautiful town named after him. Wonderful place.

  14. I remember reading a book about him when I was 10 (1970), been fascinated by him ever since

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