Jul 15, 2022 - Sports

Jim Thorpe reinstated as sole winner of 1912 Olympic gold medals

Jim Thorpe as an American football player.
Jim Thorpe in football gear, approxamitely in 1910. Photo: PhotoQuest/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Friday that it has restored Jim Thorpe as the sole gold medalist in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm.

State of play: Thorpe was stripped of the medals after it was discovered that he had earned a small amount of money playing minor league baseball before becoming an Olympian.

  • Thorpe had been restored as a co-winner of both events in 1982, but not the sole winner.

Details: A campaign to reinstate Thorpe's medals was led by Bright Path Strong, an organization named after Thorpe's Native American name.

  • Bright Path Strong started a petition and contacted the surviving family members of Hugo Wieslander and Ferdinand Bie, the Olympians who were also awarded gold medals in the two events.
  • The IOC said both families considered Thorpe the winner.
  • In its petition, Bright Path Strong called Thorpe's status as a co-champion "a painful reminder of the deep inequities even the most triumphant athletes of color have faced."

What they're saying: "This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

  • "A moment 110 years in the making to finally hear the words officially spoken again, ‘Jim Thorpe is the sole winner of the 1912 decathlon and pentathlon,'" Anita Thorpe, a granddaughter of Jim Thorpe, said in a statement through Bright Path Strong.
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