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Author says what Olympian Jim Thorpe did remains 'unparalleled'

Harris & Ewing
Library of Congress
In addition to track and field, Jim Thorpe played numerous sports including football and baseball, in college and professionally.

The Native American athlete from Oklahoma made his athletic mark in collegiate, Olympic and professional sports.

When King Gustav of Sweden presented James (Jim) Thorpe with his gold medals for winning the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics, he was reported to declare, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world."

Less than a year later, the International Olympic Committee would strip Thorpe of his medals and strike his record-breaking performances from its record books.

In a partial reversal of its 1913 decision, the IOC declared Thorpe the co-winner of the two events and presented commemorative gold medallion's to his family in 1983, 30 year's after the athlete's death.

It wasn't until July of this year that Jim Thorpe's Olympic achievements were restored to the IOC record books and he once again stood as the only athlete to win both the pentathlon and decathlon.

Author David Maraniss talked about the life of Thorpe, "a troubled, but incredibly talented man."

David Maraniss discusses "Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe" at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th Street Kansas City, Missouri 64112. Tickets available through Rainy Day Books.

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