Life of Olympian/baseballer Jim Thorpe honoured in Oklahoma

Life of Olympian/baseballer Jim Thorpe honoured in Oklahoma
31/01/2024
The first Native American to win an Olympic medal, he was stripped of his pentathlon and decathlon golds because he had played professional baseball. His case was finally cleared in 2022.

A small museum in Oklahoma City, USA, has honoured the life of Jim Thorpe. It exists as a room within the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. It includes memorabilia from Jim Thorpe's life and career and an exploration of his family history and Native American heritage. A statue stands in Thorpe's honour outside.

Thorpe (1887-1953) was born Wa-Tho-Huk, meaning Bright Path. He was a Sac and Fox Nation member in what today is known as Oklahoma. He was christened Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe Statue - OKC

He was a gifted athlete. At Carlisle Indian Industrial School, an assimilation boarding school in Pennsylvania, he met football coach Glenn Warner. He excelled at football, baseball, lacrosse and ballroom dancing.

He won gold medals in pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics. Still, he was later stripped of his titles after the media exposed that he had been paid the equivalent of today's US$63 to play baseball in the Eastern Carolina League.

In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee restored his medals with replicas.

Official IOC records still listed Thorpe as co-champion in decathlon and pentathlon until 2022 when he was restored as the sole champion in both events.