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Thorpe was stripped of his title in 1913 for allegedly violating the Olympic spirit of amateurism. He is the first Native-American to win a gold medal for the U.S. The gold medal was internationally recognized in 2022.

Jim Thorpe was known for his incredible athletic skill and for being the first member of a native nation to win Olympic gold. Sadly, Thorpe was stripped of his gold medals (which were later reinstated after his death). The following quote by John “Chief” Meyers—Thorpe’s roommate and catcher for the New York Giants—gives insight as to how this time in his life affected him.

Image: New York Giants Batting Order, 1915, Thorpe (third in from the right); Meyers (far right)

“Jim was very proud of the great things he’d done. A very proud man…. Very late one night Jim came in and woke me up…. He was crying and tears were rolling down his cheeks. ‘You know, Chief,’ he said, ‘the King of Sweden gave me those trophies, he gave them to me. They’re mine, Chief. I won them fair and square.’ It broke his heart and he never really recovered.”

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Making Connections


What do you think Jim Thorpe’s most important achievement was in his lifetime?


Have you read any other books about Jim Thorpe? Did you learn any new information from those books?


Can you think of any other people in history who devoted their lives to helping their communities?

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