Restore Jim Thorpe’s Sole Standing

Everyone knows Jim Thorpe’s gold medals for winning both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics were taken back in 1913 because he had played some low-level minor league baseball. Less well known is that, through the efforts of husband and wife team Bob Wheeler and Florence Ridlon, his medals were restored, and his name returned to the record books. Little known is that even though his records are now included in the official report, the International Olympic Committee chose to list the second-place finishers in both events as also being gold medal winners’ point totals, even though Thorpe amassed much higher point totals. Over the decades, the IOC has resisted all efforts to restore Thorpe as the sole gold medal winner for the decathlon and pentathlon even though it was proven they had illegally taken his medals and records away. Fortunately, not all have given up hope.

U.S. Representative from the 1st Congressional District of New Mexico Debra Haaland is submitting a resolution in a week to put pressure on the IOC to right this wrong. She is proposing this resolution to coincide with Native American Heritage Month. After making its case, the resolution states:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the International Olympic Committee, through its president, should officially recognize Jim Thorpe’s unprecedented athletic achievements as the sole Gold Medalist in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon events and correct these inaccuracies in the official Olympic books.

I urge you to assist Rep. Haaland in this effort by writing in support of this resolution to her office in care of Kevin.Carriere@mail.house.gov.

jim_thorpe

 

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2 Responses to “Restore Jim Thorpe’s Sole Standing”

  1. Dave Wheelock Says:

    Thank you, Tom. For this and your investigations and works on Carlisle, where our grandfather Martin Wheelock captained the gridiron team. Is there truth in spoken claims that Jim looked up to or modeled after Martin? Dave Wheelock Albuquerque

    On Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 11:04 AM Tom Benjey’s Weblog wrote:

    > tombenjey posted: “Everyone knows Jim Thorpe’s gold medals for winning > both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics were taken back in > 1913 because he had played some low-level minor league baseball. Less well > known is that, through the efforts of husband and wife” >

    • tombenjey Says:

      I have read that Jim Thorpe had admired the older boy, Chauncey Archiquette, when both were at Haskell Institute. Martin Wheelock graduated in 1902, having learned the blacksmith trade. Thorpe didn’t arrive at Carlisle until 1904, so the two didn’t overlap there. He would probably have know Martin from legends and newspaper articles. So, Jim could have looked up to him from afar. Being a back where Martin was a lineman, Thorpe wouldn’t have modeled much of his game after him, except for, maybe, kicking and punting.

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