Yesterday, Big Jim Thorpe was reinstated as the sole winner of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon in Stockholm — nearly 110 years after being stripped of those gold medals for violations of strict amateurism rules of the time.
Thorpe, a Native American, returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York, but months later it was discovered he had been paid to play minor league baseball over two summers, an infringement of the Olympic amateurism rules. He was stripped of his gold medals in what was described as the first major international sports scandal.
In Stockholm, Thorpe tripled the score of his nearest competitor in the pentathlon and had 688 more points than the second-placed finisher in the decathlon.
During the closing ceremony, King Gustav V told Thorpe: “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”