IOC reinstates Jim Thorpe as sole winner of 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon
Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, became the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal when he won the decathlon and pentathlon in 1912 in Stockholm. Jim Thorpe, stripped of his 1912 gold medals because he'd been paid to play minor league baseball, was reinstated as the sole winner of that year's Olympic decathlon and pentathlon by the International Olympic Committee.
Thorpe, voted the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century by The Associated Press, won the decathlon and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics. However, because he had played minor league baseball in 1909-10 -- earning a reported $2 per game to $35 per week -- he was stripped of the medals in 1913 for violating the existing amateurism rules. The Amateur Athletic Union in the United States withdrew Thorpe's amateur status, and the IOC unanimously stripped Thorpe for being a professional.
The decision has been controversial ever since, especially to Native American communities. Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, and was the first Native American to win a gold medal.
After years of lobbying, the IOC Executive Committee reinstated Thorpe in October 1982, but said he was the co-champion with Hugo Wieslander (decathlon) and Ferdinand Bie (pentathlon). On Thursday, he was restored as the sole champion.
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