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Tag: gold medals

The Greatest Athlete of the First Half of the Century

Jim Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic gold medals in 1913, but it was not because of illegal drugs, cheating, or bribery. It was because of baseball.

Thorpe was a Native American from Oklahoma. He went to the Sac and Fox Indian Agency school in Stroud, OK, but dropped out. Later he attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, PA, where he was coached by “Pop” Warner, one of the most influential coaches of football history. But Thorpe’s skills went beyond football. He ran track and field and played lacrosse and baseball. In 1912, Thorpe led Carlisle to a 27–6 victory over Army, whose team included a young Dwight Eisenhower.

Photograph of Jim Thorpe, ca. 1910 (ARC 595347)

In 1912, Thorpe competed in the Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He was part of both the decathlon and pentathlon teams. For the pentathlon, he competed in the long jump, javelin throw, 200-meter dash, discus throw, and 1500-meter run. In the decathlon, Thorpe earned 8,412 points and established a world record. Thorpe won gold medals in both events. When he returned home, there was a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York City.

In addition to the track and field events in Stockholm, Thorpe also played some baseball in 1912. It was the first time baseball was included in the Olympics, and the exhibition game … [ Read all ]