86 Facts About Jim Thorpe


James Francis Thorpe was an American athlete and Olympic gold medalist.


Jim Thorpe played football, professional baseball, and basketball.


Jim Thorpe 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 contemporary amateurism rules.


Jim Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Indian Territory.


Later in 1913, Jim Thorpe signed with the New York Giants, and he played six seasons in Major League Baseball between 1913 and 1919.


Jim Thorpe joined the Canton Bulldogs American football team in 1915, helping them win three professional championships.


Jim Thorpe later played for six teams in the National Football League.


Jim Thorpe 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, Jim Thorpe was nominally the first president of the American Professional Football Association, which became the NFL in 1922.


Jim Thorpe struggled to earn a living after that, working several odd jobs.


Jim Thorpe suffered from alcoholism, and lived his last years in failing health and poverty.


Jim Thorpe was married three times and had eight children, including Grace Thorpe, an environmentalist and Native rights activist, before suffering from heart failure and dying in 1953.


The town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania was named in his honor.


Jim Thorpe was baptized "Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe" in the Catholic Church.


Jim Thorpe was born in Indian Territory of the United States, but no birth certificate has been found.


Jim Thorpe was generally considered to have been born on May 22,1887, near the town of Prague.


Jim Thorpe referred to Shawnee as his birthplace in his 1943 note to the newspaper.


Jim Thorpe was raised as a Sac and Fox, and his native name, Wa-Tho-Huk, is translated as "path lit by great flash of lightning" or, more simply, "Bright Path".


Jim Thorpe's parents were both Roman Catholic, a faith which Jim Thorpe observed throughout his adult life.


Jim Thorpe attended the Sac and Fox Indian Agency school in Stroud, with his twin brother, Charlie.


Jim Thorpe's father sent him to the Haskell Institute, an Indian boarding school in Lawrence, Kansas, so that he would not run away again.


When Jim Thorpe's mother died of childbirth complications two years later, the youth became depressed.


In 1904, the sixteen-year-old Jim Thorpe returned to his father and decided to attend Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Later that year the youth was orphaned after his father Hiram Jim Thorpe died from gangrene poisoning, after being wounded in a hunting accident.


Jim Thorpe resumed farm work for a few years before returning to Carlisle School.


Jim Thorpe began his athletic career at Carlisle in 1907 when he walked past the track and, still in street clothes, beat all the school's high jumpers with an impromptu 5-ft 9-in jump.


Jim Thorpe's earliest recorded track and field results come from 1907.


Jim Thorpe competed in football, baseball, lacrosse, and ballroom dancing, winning the 1912 intercollegiate ballroom dancing championship.


Jim Thorpe convinced Warner to let him try some rushing plays in practice against the school team's defense; Warner assumed he would be tackled easily and give up the idea.


Jim Thorpe "ran around past and through them not once, but twice".


Jim Thorpe walked over to Warner and said, "Nobody is going to tackle Jim", while flipping him the ball.


Jim Thorpe first gained nationwide notice in 1911 for his athletic ability.


Jim Thorpe rushed 191 times for 1,869 yards, according to Boda; the figures do not include statistics from two of Carlisle's 14 games in 1912 because full records are not available.


Jim Thorpe never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw.


Jim Thorpe was awarded third-team All-American honors in 1908, and named a first-team All-American in 1911 and 1912.


Jim Thorpe did not compete in track and field in 1910 or 1911, although this turned out to be the sport in which he gained his greatest fame.


Jim Thorpe easily earned a place on the pentathlon team, winning three events.


The decathlon trial was cancelled, and Jim Thorpe was chosen to represent the US in the event.


Jim Thorpe won four of the five events and placed third in the javelin, an event he had not competed in before 1912.


Jim Thorpe placed in the top four in all ten events, and his Olympic record of 8,413 points stood for nearly two decades.


Jim Thorpe had previous experience in the sport, as the public soon learned.


Jim Thorpe shaking hands with Moses Friedman while Glenn "Pop" Warner, Lewis Tewanima, and a crowd look on.


Jim Thorpe had played professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League for Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1909 and 1910, receiving meager pay; reportedly as little as US$2 per game and as much as US$35 per week.


Jim Thorpe wrote a letter to Sullivan, in which he admitted playing professional baseball:.


The only positive aspect of this affair for Jim Thorpe was that, as soon as the news was reported that he had been declared a professional, he received offers from professional sports clubs.


Jim Thorpe could choose the baseball team for which to play.


Barnstorming across the United States and around the world, Jim Thorpe was the celebrity of the tour.


Jim Thorpe's presence increased the publicity, attendance and gate receipts for the tour.


Jim Thorpe met with Pope Pius X and Abbas II Hilmi Bey, and played before 20,000 people in London including King George V Thorpe was the last man to compete in both the Olympics and Major League Baseball before Eddy Alvarez did the same in 2020.


Jim Thorpe signed with the New York Giants baseball club in 1913 and played sporadically with them as an outfielder for three seasons.


Jim Thorpe was sold to the Cincinnati Reds early in the season.


Jim Thorpe continued to play minor league baseball until 1922, and once played for the minor league Toledo Mud Hens.


Jim Thorpe first played professional football in 1913 as a member of the Indiana-based Pine Village Pros, a team that had a several-season winning streak against local teams during the 1910s.


Jim Thorpe reportedly ended the 1919 championship game by kicking a wind-assisted 95-yard punt from his team's own 5-yard line, effectively putting the game out of reach.


Jim Thorpe was nominally their first president, but spent most of the year playing for Canton; a year later, he was replaced as president by Joseph Carr.


Jim Thorpe continued to play for Canton, coaching the team as well.


Jim Thorpe married three times and had a total of eight children.


In 1913, Thorpe married Iva M Miller, whom he had met at Carlisle.


In 1926, Jim Thorpe married Freeda Verona Kirkpatrick.


Jim Thorpe was working for the manager of the baseball team for which he was playing at the time.


Lastly, Jim Thorpe married Patricia Gladys Askew on June 2,1945.


Jim Thorpe found it difficult to work a non-sports-related job and never held a job for an extended period of time.


Jim Thorpe portrayed an umpire in the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American.


Jim Thorpe played a member of the Navajo Nation in the 1950 film Wagon Master.


Jim Thorpe was seen in one scene as a coaching assistant.


Jim Thorpe briefly joined the United States Merchant Marine in 1945, during World War II.


When hospitalized for lip cancer in 1950, Jim Thorpe was admitted as a charity case.


Jim Thorpe has spent money on his own people and has given it away.


In early 1953, Jim Thorpe went into heart failure for the third time while dining with Patricia in their home in Lomita, California.


Jim Thorpe was briefly revived by artificial respiration and spoke to those around him, but lost consciousness shortly afterward.


Jim Thorpe accomplished his athletic feats despite the severe racial inequality of the United States.


When Jim Thorpe attended Carlisle, the students' ethnicity was used for marketing purposes.


Armed with this support and evidence from 1912 proving that Jim Thorpe's disqualification had occurred after the 30-day time period allowed by Olympics rules, they succeeded in making the case to the IOC.


Jim Thorpe's achievements received great acclaim from sports journalists, both during his lifetime and since his death.


Jim Thorpe was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, one of seventeen players in the charter class.


Jim Thorpe is memorialized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame rotunda with a larger-than-life statue.


Jim Thorpe was inducted into halls of fame for college football, American Olympic teams, and the national track and field competition.


In 2018, Jim Thorpe became one of the inductees in the first induction ceremony held by the National Native American Hall of Fame.


In 1986, the Jim Thorpe Association established an award with Thorpe's name.


The Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to the best defensive back in college football.


In 2018, Jim Thorpe was honored on the Native American dollar coin; proposed designs were released in 2015.


Jim Thorpe made a deal with officials which, according to Thorpe's son Jack, was made by the widowed Patricia for monetary considerations.


In June 2010, Jack Thorpe filed a federal lawsuit against the borough of Jim Thorpe, seeking to have his father's remains returned to his homeland and re-interred near other family members in Oklahoma.


Jim Thorpe claimed that the agreement between his stepmother and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, borough officials was made against the wishes of other family members, who want him buried in Native American land.


The appeals court held that Jim Thorpe borough is not a "museum", as that term is used in NAGPRA, and that the plaintiffs therefore could not invoke that federal statute to seek reinterment of Thorpe's remains.


The Jim Thorpe Area Running Festival is a series of races started in 2019 in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.