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Petition filed to restore Jim Thorpe’s status as sole gold medalist

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Jim Thorpe was one of the most decorated athletes and even holds an Olympic world record on top of his Hall of Fame football career. However, Thorpe isn’t recognized as a solo gold medalist as a result of being Native American because Native Americans weren’t considered United States citizens in the early part of the 1900s.

Now a petition has been created in order to restore Thorpe’s status as a sole gold medalist with the International Olympic Committee. The petition’s motto is to help “take back what was stolen” from Thorpe over a century ago.

“To call Jim Thorpe a co-champion in his events isn’t just inaccurate, it stands as a painful reminder of the deep inequities even the most triumphant athletes of color have faced,” the groups wrote in the petition.

The petition currently has 1,560 signatures and the current goal is to reach 10,000. It was launched by PictureWorks Entertainment.

“This petition is an effort to gather over one million names and voices united in support of Jim and American athletic excellence and Native American resilience,” Pictureworks Entertainment executive producer Nedra Darling said in a statement. “In a time where Americans, and arguably people all around the world are confronting their long-held discriminatory beliefs and behaviors, this is a tremendous opportunity for the IOC to get on the right side of history.”

Thorpe broke records in the decathlon and pentathlon events at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Just six months after winning the gold medal, Thorpe’s had the hardware taken away because he was paid to play minor league baseball games before the 1912 Olympics.

In addition, the IOC took his records out of the record books as a result of the minor league baseball violation. Thorpe chose not to fight the decision when it was handed down.

In October 1982, the IOC did reinstate Thorpe’s gold medal and gave two replica medals to his family. However, his records still aren’t officially recognized by the committee.



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