Jim Thorpe

jim-thorpe

James Francis “Jim” Thorpe was born in 1887 in a one-room cabin near Prague, Oklahoma. There is much confusion on the exact date. He was born to Hiram Thorpe, a farmer, and Mary James, a Pottawatomie Indian and descendant of the last great Sauk and Fox chief Black Hawk, a noted warrior and athlete.  His Indian name, Wa-Tho-Huk, translated to “Bright Path”, something that Thorpe definitely had ahead of him.

As a child, the rambunctious Thorpe became his athletic father’s protege, at times running 20 miles home from school. “I never was content,” he said, “unless I was trying my skill in some game against my fellow playmates or testing my endurance and wits against some member of the animal kingdom.”

Thorpe reportedly began his athletic career at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1907, when he walked past the the field where the varsity track team is practicing the high jump. Thorpe shyly asks if he can have a try at clearing the bar, which is set at five foot nine. The guys on the track team, snickering, say “Sure kid, try it.” He set the school’s record in clad in heavy overalls and work boots. In 1909, he left school to play baseball for two years before returning to play football, baseball, and basketball. Thorpe gained nationwide attention for the first time in 1911. As a running back, defensive back, placekicker, and punter for his school’s football team, Thorpe scored all of his team’s points — four field goals and a touchdown—in an 18–15 upset of Harvard. His team finished the season 11–1. Bored (being a bad-ass), he trained for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in track.

Jimmy

At the 1912 Olympics, he won the pentathlon and decathlon by huge margins, setting world records in both events. His records stood for decades. King Gustav V of Sweden, presented Thorpe with his gold medals for both accomplishments. Before Thorpe could walk away, the king grabbed his hand and declared “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.” Thorpe replied simply “Thanks King.” Unfortunately, some d@uche-bag reporter revealed his two years of semi-professional baseball. Thorpe was stripped of his medals.

thorpe82

In his last college season, Thorpe scored 198 points and was voted first-string, All-American halfback. That 1912 record included a 27–6 victory over Army. During that game, future President Dwight Eisenhower injured his knee while trying to tackle Thorpe. Eisenhower recalled of Thorpe in a 1961 speech, “Here and there, there are some people who are supremely endowed. My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe. He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw.” Thorpe was awarded All-American honors in both 1911 and 1912.

Once out of school, he signed to play baseball with the National League Champion New York Giants. From 1913 to 1929, he usually switched sports each season from baseball to football, which he played professionally until he was 41 years old.

Football was not as popular as baseball back then, but Thorpe helped make it the wildly popular sport it is today and became the first president of the new American Professional Football Association (later the National Football League–NFL).

The Depression proved a hard time for Thorpe. He could not afford to buy a ticket to the 1932 Olympic games. When he was invited to sit in the presidential box, a crowd of 105,000 stood to cheer him. 30 years after his death, Thorpe was also given back his Olympic medals (his relatives got ’em) and his name was reentered into the record books.

Two monumental honors were bestowed unto Thorpe in 1950, when he was named “the greatest American football player” and the “greatest overall male athlete” by the Associated Press.

wheaties box featuring thorpe

Thorpe is considered the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Period. A major motion picture, several books, stamps, awards, and a borough in Carbon County, Pennsylvania were created and/or named in his honor. Hell, he got a Wheaties’ box to boot! The bad-ass of cereals!!

Here are the source links: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/gilded/thorpe_1 and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thorpe and here: http://www.cmgww.com/sports/thorpe/

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2 Responses to “Jim Thorpe”

  1. brethren Says:

    Jim Thorpe once bench pressed a woolly mammoth 17 times!

  2. Hey extremely good blog!! Guy .. Stunning .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds
    also…

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