Thorpe: A Railroader railroaded

“[C]oach Glenn “Pop” Warner directed [Jim] Thorpe and two other Carlisle athletes to play semipro summer baseball in North Carolina [for the Rocky Mount Railroaders]. Thorpe was paid a pittance — the exact amount isn’t clear — but Carlisle’s strict control over the wages of students who worked meant he probably kept nothing. And remember: Thorpe played at Warner’s instruction.”

— From “‘World’s greatest athlete’ Jim Thorpe was wronged by bigotry. The IOC must correct the record.” by Anita DeFrantz in the Washington Post (Jan. 13)

What Jim Thorpe won in Stockholm he lost in Rocky Mount

On this day in 1982: In Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee restores two gold medals won by the late Jim Thorpe.

Thorpe, an American Indian voted the greatest athlete of the first half of the century, won medals in the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 games at Stockholm. A few months later, however, a newspaper revealed that Thorpe had been paid $2 a game to play semipro baseball with the Rocky Mount Railroaders. The practice was common among collegians at the time, but the IOC declared Thorpe a professional, wiped out his records and reclaimed his medals. Almost three decades after his death a campaign led by his descendants persuades the IOC to reverse its decision.