Jim Thorpe - Bio, News, Photos - Washington Times
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Jim Thorpe

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Jim Thorpe - A member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Thorpe became the first Native American to win a gold medal for his home country. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football (collegiate and professional), and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he had been paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateurism rules that were then in place. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals. Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma. He played as part of several all American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of American Indians. From 1920 to 1921, Thorpe was nominally the first president of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which would become the National Football League (NFL) in 1922. He played professional sports until age 41, the end of his sports career coinciding with the start of the Great Depression.

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Jim Thorpe visits his daughter, Grace, at the Haskell Institute, the American Indian School, in Lawrence, Kansas, in February 1931. Thorpe was married three times. He died in 1953. (Associated Press)

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Jim Thorpe visits his daughter, Grace, at the Haskell Institute, the American Indian School, in Lawrence, Kansas, in February 1931. Thorpe was married three times. He died in 1953. (Associated Press)

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Jim Thorpe won Olympic gold, only to have his medal taken away in a controversy over his amateur status. He was a standout athlete in many sports and helped found what became the National Football League. He led a sometimes troubled life and at the time of this 1931 photo he was working as a laborer at the site of the new Los Angeles County Hospital. (Associated Press)

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Jim Thorpe won Olympic gold, only to have his medal taken away in a controversy over his amateur status. He was a standout athlete in many sports and helped found what became the National Football League. He led a sometimes troubled life and at the time of this 1931 photo he was working as a laborer at the site of the new Los Angeles County Hospital. (Associated Press)