It’s been over a century, but Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe will finally be recognized for his sporting dominance. On Friday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced they will reinstate Thorpe as the sole Olympic champion in the decathlon and pentathlon of the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm.
Thorpe was stripped of his gold medals in 1913 after the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which was eventually replaced by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), ruled that the Native American track and field athlete had broken the rules of amateurism.
At the time, Hugo K. Wieslander was named as the gold medalist in decathlon as a result. According to the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC) and family members, Wieslander never accepted the Olympic gold medal awarded to him.
Similar to the SOC, the Norwegian Olympic Committee ruled that Thorpe should be named the rightful winner of the gold medal in pentathlon, and not Ferdinand Bie, who was declared as the winner after Thorpe was stripped of his medals.
“We welcome the fact that, thanks to the great engagement of Bright Path Strong, a solution could be found. This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
In 1982, the IOC Executive Board restored Thorpe’s status as an amateur, then presented his family with two medals in a ceremony. Despite the restoration of his status, the IOC report did not declassify the other 1912 medalists, meaning he was essentially a co-winner.