Olympic Icon Jim Thorpe’s 1912 Medals May Finally Be Restored

‘The best athlete in the world,’ Jim Thorpe, lost his two 1912 Olympic gold medals to a technicality (and, many argue, an injustice). Advocates fight to restore his status.

Thorpe competed for the United States in 1912 as a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. At the time, the U.S. didn’t recognize him as a legal citizen. Still, he became the first Native American to win Olympic gold, finishing first in decathlon and pentathlon.

A year later, though, the IOC would strip him of both his hardware and his status. The committee found that he had played two seasons of minor league baseball before competing. Technically, that violated the stipulation that Olympians must be amateurs.

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