Jim Thorpe is reinstated as the sole winner of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Jim Thorpe has been reinstated as the sole winner of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon in Stockholm, nearly 110 years after being stripped of those gold medals for violations of strict amateur rules at the time.

The International Olympic Committee announced the change Friday on the 110th anniversary of Thorpe winning the decathlon and later being proclaimed by Sweden’s King Gustaf V as “the world’s greatest athlete.”

Thorpe, a Native American, returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York, only to discover months later that he had been paid to play minor league baseball for two summers, a violation of Olympic amateurism rules. He was stripped of the gold medals from him in what was described as the first major international sports scandal.

To some, Thorpe remains the most complete athlete of all time. He was voted the Associated Press Athlete of the Half-Century in a poll in 1950.

In 1982, 29 years after Thorpe’s death, the IOC awarded duplicate gold medals to his family, but his Olympic records were not restored, nor was his status as the sole gold medalist of the two events.

Two years ago, a Bright Path Strong petition advocated declaring Thorpe the overall winner of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. The IOC had listed him as co-champion in the official record book.

“We appreciate the fact that, thanks to the great commitment of Bright Path Strong, a solution has been found,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “This is an exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed with an extraordinary gesture of fair play by the National Olympic Committees involved.”

Thorpe’s Native American name, Wa-Tho-Huk, means “Bright Path”. The organization, with the help of IOC member Anita DeFrantz, had contacted the Swedish Olympic Committee and the family of Hugo Wieslander, who had been promoted to decathlon gold medalist in 1913.

“They confirmed that Wieslander himself had never accepted the Olympic gold medal assigned to him, and had always been of the opinion that Jim Thorpe was the only legitimate Olympic gold medalist,” the IOC said, adding that the Swedish Olympic Committee agreed. agreement.

“The same statement was received from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the Sports Confederation, whose athlete, Ferdinand Bie, was named the gold medalist when Thorpe was stripped of the pentathlon title,” the IOC said.

Bie will be listed as silver medalist in the pentathlon and Wieslander with silver in the decathlon.

World Athletics, the governing body for athletics, has also agreed to amend its records, the IOC said.

Thorpe tripled the score of his closest competitor in the pentathlon and scored 688 points more than the second-place finisher in the decathlon.

During the closing ceremony, King Gustaf V told Thorpe: “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”

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