Help Correct the Olympic Records
& Return Jim Thorpe's Wins

A call to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reinstate Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe as the sole winner in his events in the 1912 Olympics.

When Jim Thorpe crossed the finish line of the 1,500-meter race, the final event in the decathlon at the 1912 Olympic games, he not only became the first American Indian to win a gold medal for the U.S. - he brought home two gold medals more than a decade before American Indians were officially recognized as American citizens. Proclaimed "World's Greatest Athlete" by King Gustav V of Sweden, Jim Thorpe - born Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as "Bright Path" - became an icon of Native American strength and resilience.

However, six months after his historic win, revelations surfaced that Jim was paid what amounted to room and board while playing in a minor league baseball division in the summers of 1909 and 1910. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) promptly stripped him of his medals, removed his name from the official record, and refused him the opportunity to defend himself. They awarded the gold medals to the respective silver medalists, despite the fact that both refused official recognition.

In 1983, following a decades-long effort by supporters - and only after the Swedish Olympic Rules for the 1912 Games were uncovered and legal action threatened did they relent - the IOC reinstated Jim Thorpe in the Olympic record and presented his family with duplicate medals.

But the official Olympic record still erroneously lists Jim as a "co-champion" in his events.

This petition calls on the IOC to restore the record of Jim Thorpe as the sole champion in the pentathlon and decathlon events at the 1912 Olympic Games.

Native Americans have been invariably impacted by the ever-climbing barriers and setbacks of racism in the U.S., and the world of sports is no different. From more than a decade in government run boarding schools where every vestige of his identity and culture were attempted to be taken from him, to travel accommodations far inferior to his white Olympic teammates, to having his track shoes stolen minutes before the decathlon's final race, to racist depictions in media downplaying his athletic achievements, Jim Thorpe had to overcome one racially motivated trial after another - and still managed to break world records.

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.

Bright Path Strong invites the IOC to join us in the work to create a level playing field for all who participate in the game. Your signatures on this petition will serve to support the resolution introduced by U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland, to compel the IOC to correct Jim's record. This petition is just the first step in a series of initiatives tied to Bright Path - an upcoming feature film from Pictureworks Entertainment and a consortium of American Indian tribes to finally tell the REAL story of Jim Thorpe.

Sign this petition to right history today.

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Updates

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Reasons for signing

I am proud to claim Jim Thorpe as my fraternal grandfather. He was graced by God with an extraordinary athleticism and truly stood out among the Olympian pack as a "Brightpath". Unfortunately, he lived his life in the shadow of the injustice of his stripped gold medalist status. This current period of social unrest in the United States that cries for a complete level human playing field would be a perfect moment in time to correct the long standing injustice that has marred his legend for so long. He was the true winner in the hearts and minds of many and I hope this petition will provide a realization of Jim's complete reinstatement.

Teresa Thorpe | Springfield, MO (Family)
185 · Report

Hello there. This is Billy and Pat Mills. We want to support this petition to re-instate Jim Thorpe as the only Gold Medalist in the Decathlon and Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics. Not being a co-champion, but the ONLY Olympic Champion. As the last Native American Olympic Champion from the USA and knowing the challenges I faced in my Gold medal pursuit, I feel I have a fair understanding of the injustice Jim Thorpe faced.

Billy Mills | Ogalala Lakota Nation, SD (1964 Gold Medal Olympian)
210 · Report

The Olympics represent the best of each nation and competition at its finest. There's great symbolism in each nation representing itself by putting forth its very best. What was done to Jim was wrong. For kids today who look to Jim as a hero, reversing this injustice will send the right message to the world that we're all in this fight for equality and fairness together. Jim was the one true champion of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. Thank you to all who join with us in signing this petition to right this wrong

Martin Sensmeier (Lead Actor & Executive Producer, BRIGHT PATH)
103 · Report

As a lifelong student of American history I thought I had an expansive view of our past; learning the REAL story of Jim Thorpe changed my worldview and opened my eyes to a history and perspective I was robbed of by not being taught the accurate story. I lend my voice to that of so many others in inviting the IOC to recalibrate its history to accurately recognize Jim Thorpe for the champion he was.

Abraham Taylor | Los Angeles, CA (Producer & Writer, BRIGHT PATH)
90 · Report

I sign the petition for the IOC to correct Jim's Olympic records with great pride and to honor my dad, Jim's mother, his children and many Potawatomi citizens before me. In my heart I believe the IOC will do the right thing for our future generations of Native athletes. Our Potawatomi and Sac and Fox Nations will rejoice when the IOC corrects their longstanding discriminatory act towards Jim Thorpe

Nedra Darling (Executive Producer, BRIGHT PATH)
95 · Report

For any of us to reach our destination we must keep stepping forward. Whether it's the Washington football team name change, the discontinuation of appropriating our culture for other sports mascots, or this petition to return Jim's Olympic wins, all are steps forward on a long walk. Please sign this petition and take this walk with us

Chris Taylor (Executive Producer, BRIGHT PATH)
67 · Report

After learning the true story of Jim Thorpe while researching his biography, I have spent the last 50 years of my life trying to correct the worst injustice in sports history of Jim Thorpe having his Olympic gold medals and records taken away. In 1983, the International Olympic Committee, after great pressure and the threat of legal action, finally restored duplicate medals to Jim's family and his name to their official record book but listed him as a co-champion. Please sign the petition to help Bright Path Strong finally correct this last affront to the legacy of Jim Thorpe by fully reinstating him as the true champion that he was and is!

Robert W. Wheeler (Jim Thorpe Biographer & Author)
87 · Report

As a person of color this petition is near and dear to my heart. I hope that it marks the beginning of a period where every person is free to be the best version of themselves in a world where the official annals of history accurately and enthusiastically celebrate their accomplishments.

Josh Aker (Executive Producer, BRIGHT PATH)
80 · Report

Jim Thorpe is my Grandfather. PLEASE help in setting his record straight. Aho!

John Thorpe | Weatherly, PA (Family)
194 · Report

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Gear | Bright Path Strong

When underdog Jim Thorpe dominated the Olympic competition, he became an international icon. Get your limited edition “World’s Greatest Athlete” Bright Path Strong tshirt, designed by TheNTVS.com renowned Native American artists Steven Paul Judd and Aaron Silva.

 
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