Restore Jim Thorpe as the Sole Gold Medalist for his 1912 Olympic Victories

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Sac & Fox and Potawatomi Native American, two-time Olympic gold medalist, first president, co-founder and star of what was to become the NFL, and MLB player – these titles all belong to Jim Thorpe. For over a century, Thorpe, has been denied the full celebration of his accomplishments. In January 2022, a case study from The Doug Williams Center (DWC), will be available for download at, to support a Bright Path Strong (BPS) petition to reinstate Thorpe as the sole gold medalist for the pentathlon and decathlon he decisively won in the 1912 Olympics.

To compose the case study, the DWC partnered with Thorpe biographer, Bob Wheeler, and Dr. Florence Ridlon, Jim Thorpe Foundation co-founders and honorary board members of Bright Path Strong, a nonprofit organization created in honor of Thorpe to amplify authentic Native American voices, past and present. Their writing clarifies the story of the part that racism played in stripping Jim, a world class athlete in 22 sports, of his rightful recognition.

Ridlon, a Technical Advisor, and Wheeler, an Executive Producer, for the forthcoming movie on Thorpe stated that: “We have spent the last 50 years of our lives trying to correct the worst injustice in sports history – Jim Thorpe having his Olympic gold medals and records illegally taken away. In 1983, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), restored duplicate medals to Jim’s family and his name to their official record book but listed him as a co-champion. We are honored to have the opportunity that the DWC has given us to provide a distinguished forum through which we can discuss the underlying racism behind the decision to strip Jim of his honors.”

“The deep-seated injustices we examined throughout Jim Thorpe’s career are an ominous reminder of the numerous wrongs against the Native American community that must be acknowledged and rectified. We are committed to telling his story and hopeful that this research will open the door for more solutions and healing in our nation,” said Brandon A. Logan, DWC Executive Director.

An effort led by Bright Path Strong for the recognition of Thorpe’s achievements includes a petition campaign, a feature motion picture, national media coverage, and working with IOC representative to the U.S., Anita DeFrantz, who supports the full reinstatement of Thorpe.

Nedra Darling (Prairie Band Potawatomi), co-founder of Bright Path Strong and Executive Producer for the forthcoming movie explained “Jim Thorpe was the ultimate competitor at a time when the playing field was anything but even. He fought racism and inequity, and as a Native American in 1912, he was not even recognized as a citizen of this country. Yet, Jim still overcame every obstacle with grace, dignity, and determination to become the greatest athlete in the world.

Contact: Nedra Darling
Phone: (424) 281-0031
Email: [email protected]

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SOURCE Bright Path Strong

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