The Legacy of Jim Thorpe Essays

The Legacy of Jim Thorpe Essays

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On May 22, 1888, Charlotte Thorpe gave birth to Jacobus (Jim) Franciscus Thorpe and his twin brother, Charles, on an Indian reservation near modern-day Prague, Oklahoma. His Native American roots trace back to chief Black Hawk of the Sac and Fox tribe. His Native American name was Wa-tho-huk, which means “Bright Path.” As a child, he experienced many hardships and struggles. Despite those circumstances, he grew up to be the world’s greatest athlete and play six sports and star in the Olympics. Unfortunately, the Olympics didn’t work out the way he planned. Later in life, he battled health, marriage, and child issues. Undeterred by his struggles, the story of Jim Thorpe’s life is a triumphant yet tragic account of a man who overcame the impossible and the impassible to become the greatest athlete in the history of the world.
Jim had a rough childhood. His mother and father had 11 children, six of which died at an early age. He had a very close relationship with his brother; they did everything together. They hunted, fished, played sports, and rode horses, and when pneumonia took the life of young Charles; Jim was heartbroken. Due to his death, Jim fell into a depression. He lost interest in athletics and his schooling, and constantly ran away from school. In 1898, his father, who was of European descent, sent him to Haskell Indian Junior College; a government managed boarding school located about 300 miles away from home in Lawrence, Kansas. This school took in young Native Americans and tried to “civilize” them. Jim was not permitted to speak his native Sac and Fox language and was forced to let go of his Indian traditions. Jim still held dear to his heritage despite these circumstances. It was here where he first wa...

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...ble and the impassible to become the greatest athlete in the history of the world. His legacy will live on forever. The Olympic committee has restored his medals to the Thorpe family, and his records have been validated again. Unfortunately, Jim was not around when this happened. He is buried in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, a town in which was named after him. Although he had people constantly try to rip his heritage from him, he still clung tightly to his traditions. "I am no more proud of my career as an athlete than I am of the fact that I am a direct descendant of that noble warrior [Chief Black Hawk]." – Jim Thorpe.

Works Cited
Jim Thorpe: Original All-American
Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe: "There's no such thing as can't"
World Book Encyclopedia 2013

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