Jim Thorpe, the world's finest athlete at the time, was stripped of his Olympic decathlon and pentathlon gold medals in 1912 after it was revealed he had made a few dollars playing baseball. His actions were later deemed to be not guilty by reason of insanity.
He had been committed to a mental hospital after shooting his wife. While there, he confessed to police that he had taken the medals back from America where they were kept under guard. He said he wanted them given back to India where they belonged.
The FBI eventually found the medals in an antique shop in Pennsylvania where a former patient of Thorpe's had sold them.
Thorpe had won both the gold and silver medals at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm but it was discovered after the games that he too had made money playing baseball. It turned out that he had played for two different teams in the major league between 1909 and 1911. The first team was the Cleveland Indians who released him after one season because he refused to play on Sundays. The second team was the New York Yankees who hired him after one game when their regular player was injured. He was with them only long enough to win one game before being replaced by a pinch-hitter.
Both the gold and silver medals were returned to Thorpe's family after the FBI confirmed his innocence.
Jim Thorpe is often regarded as the greatest athlete of all time, and undoubtedly the most accomplished of the first part of the twentieth century. In 1912, Thorpe won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. He alternated between playing professional baseball and football throughout the seasons. As a football player, he was equally successful as a running back for Auburn University and as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Indians of the NFL. As a sprinter, jumper, and long jumper, he was equally dominant at events ranging from 100 meters to 200 meters.
His athletic achievements are without question, but they should not be used as a justification for his exclusion from history books. It has been said that if it weren't for the fact that Thorpe was white, there is a good chance he would have been included on this list of the top 10 athletes of all time.
In addition to his sports career, Thorpe also led an active political life, serving three terms as mayor of Auburn, Alabama and one term as governor of New Mexico. He also founded two universities: one in Auburn and one in Albuquerque. Today, both institutions continue to grow thanks in large part to Jim Thorpe's legacy as a civil rights activist and supporter of equal opportunity for everyone.
Thorpe's father was a Swedish immigrant who worked as a tailor in Auburn, Alabama. His mother was American Indian (Cherokee). He had six siblings.
Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes of all time, was a competent baseball player who improved with each season. Thorpe played two seasons of semi-pro baseball before becoming a national hero by winning two Olympic gold medals in the decathlon in 1912.
He then turned pro and became one of the most popular players in baseball. At the age of 26, he died after being hit by a car near his home in California.
Thorpe's career average for batting title winners is.440. He had over 100 hits in a season three times and scored more than 100 runs twice.
After his death, many critics named him as the best ballplayer never to win the MVP award. However, research shows that his numbers are not enough to rank among the all-time greats.
However, it can be argued that he was the first true superstar of baseball. Before Thorpe, there were no image makers or marketing directors to promote players' names. They simply showed up at the park every day and fought for their teams' lives.
But because Thorpe was so famous after just two years in the major leagues, even non-sports fans knew who he was. This made other players jealous and they started copying some of his moves.
"Jim Thorpe will be regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time," stated Jim Inhofe on Thursday. The International Olympic Committee now refuses to formally recognize his achievements, specifically his outright gold medal triumphs and the records he set at the 1912 Olympics. But that may change.
In 2012, a group of researchers attempted to re-open the case of Thorpe's gold medal by submitting evidence that he had been using steroid drugs during his career. If proven, this would have disqualified him from receiving the gold medal under modern drug testing standards. But the committee rejected the request, citing lack of proof that he used banned substances.
Jim Thorpe won two gold medals while wearing shoes that had been thrown away. Jim Thorpe was raised in struggle. He suffered racial discrimination and a rough upbringing as a Native American in the early 1900s. Despite these obstacles, he became one of the greatest athletes that the United States has ever produced.
He started out playing football but soon shifted his focus to basketball, which at the time was becoming a popular sport among Americans who could not afford baseball gloves. Jim Thorpe helped lead his school to victory in several basketball tournaments and was eventually recruited by the Carlisle Indian School to play for them. He traveled all the way to England to compete in a series of games called the "British Olympics". This exhibition match up against British athletes was part of the result of an agreement between the United States and Britain that if either country came out on top after multiple competitions, they would send a representative to the other country to settle on a single winner.
Thorpe showed off his athletic skills by winning both the pentathlon and decathlon events at these games. After returning home from England, he went on to become one of the most successful athletes in history. During his career, he won three gold medals at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He is still considered by many to be the greatest athlete that America has ever produced.