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THORPE Jim (1888 - 1953) United States / Track and field
It was not until 1983, thirty years after he died, that the American Olympic champion Jim Thorpe was rehabilitated and his family given the medals he won some sixty years earlier at the Stockholm gamesJim Thorpe was a double Olympic champion, having won both the pentathlon and the decathlon. At the time the IOC took amateur status very seriously, and this half cast Indian was accused of professional activities.It was a fact that before taking up athletics he had for a while been a professional baseball player, so the IOC demanded that he return his medals after the games. The man named "Shining Path" by his Algonquin Indian tribe duly handed them over, even if his opponents refused to take the medals. Later on he became an professional American footballer with the New York Giants.Thorpe died in the early fifties, alcoholic and destitute, asking for his medals to be returned. Four years later, the small town in Pennsylvania where he lived was renamed Jim Thorpe City. This was the first step on the road to clearing his name, which took 30 years in all, ending when Juan Antonio Samaranch showed himself to be less rigid than his predecessors, in prticular Avery Brundage.The actor Burt Lancaster acted the part of Thorpe in a film about his life made in 1950 called " The man of bronze ".
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