Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
February 12, 2000 - Issue 03

Thorpe Honored As Athlete Of The Century By ABC
By Vicki Lockard

Two daughters of Oklahoma native Jim Thorpe said they are thrilled he was named Athlete of the Century by ABC's Wide World of Sports. The winner was announced before the Super Bowl on January 30.

"I am absolutely super-plus delighted," said 77-year-old Grace Thorpe, who with her sister Gail campaigned hard for her father to get Athlete of the Century honors.

The honor was voted on by visitors to ABC's Web site, who could read the biographies of the 10 finalists for the award and vote for their candidate. Jim Thorpe received more than half of the votes, with Michael Jordan finishing second.

The award was fitting, said Grace and Gail, since their dad was one of the first professional football players in the country and president of the league that would become the National Football League.

The NFL's Most Valuable Player award is named in his honor.

Thorpe was born into the Sac and Fox Nation in a one-room cabin in 1887 in Keokuk Falls, Okla., which later became Prague. His first job was running after horses, said Grace. His Indian name was "Bright Path."

In the 1921 Olympics held in Stockholm, Sweden, Thorpe became the only man to win gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon. He was a world-class high jumper and three-time All-American in football. Thorpe also played professional baseball and was an outstanding golfer, swimmer, rower, gymnast and tennis player.

To learn more about Jim Thorpe, visit this site:

Jim Thorpe Association

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