3. Bill Introduced To Name Jim Thorpe Athlete of the Century
4. House Resolution 198
Separate Printable Versions: 1 2 3 4.
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I rise today to submit a resolution recognizing Jim Thorpe as the Athlete of the Century.
Born to an impoverished family on Sac-and-Fox Indian land, Jim Thorpe overcame adverse circumstances to excel as an amateur and as a professional in three sports; track and field, football and baseball. Thorpe, who was voted `Athlete of the First Half of the Century' by the Associated Press almost fifty years ago, is the only American athlete ever to excel at this level in three major sports.
As a student at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, Thorpe proved his athletic ability early on. One anecdote recalls how the 5-foot-9 1/2 inch, 144-pound Thorpe almost single-handedly overcame the entire Lafayette track team at a meeting in Easton, Pennsylvania, winning six events. Also while attending the Carlisle Indian School, Jim Thorpe established his amateur football record playing halfback, defender, punter, and place-kicker. In 1911, he was named an All American.
In 1912, he represented the United States and the Sac-and-Fox Nation in the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. To this day, Thorpe is the only athlete to win gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon. After his Olympic feats in Sweden, Thorpe retured to Carlisle's football team and was named an All-American again.
In 1913, Thorpe left amateur athletics and signed a $5,000 contract to play baseball with the New York Giants. As an outfielder with the Giants, and later with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves, his best season was his last one, when he batted .327 in 60 games for Boston.
In 1915, Thorpe agreed to play professional football for the Canton Bulldogs. Thorpe went on to become a key part of this team as it was recognized as the `world champion' in 1916, 1917, and 1919. Thorpe's professional football career later included stints with Cleveland, Rock Island, the New York Giants, and the Chicago Cardinals. In 1920, Thorpe became the first president of the American Football Association, which was later to become the National Football League. Today, he is recognized as a founding father of professional football.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon honoring Jim Thorpe's daughter, Grace, at the Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall in the Carbon County, Pennsylvania, a town named for the great athlete. Grace Thorpe has traveled around the country asking people to sign petitions declaring her father athlete of the century. She plans to send the petition to cable sports networks and national sportswriters. As Jim Thorpe Area Sports Hall of Fame president, Jack Kmetz has noted, Thorpe unfortunately missed out on the modern-day media blitz that surrounds popular athletes today. Nonetheless, I promised Ms. Thorpe and the people of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania that I would introduce this resolution which I hope will raise awareness of this true legend's achievements and give him the recongnition he deserves.
SENATE RESOLUTION 91
EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT JIM THORPE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS THE
`ATHLETE OF THE CENTURY'
(Senate - May 03, 1999)
Mr. SANTORUM submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:
S. Res. 91
SECTION 1. SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT JIM THORPE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS THE `ATHLETE OF THE CENTURY'.
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski
June 1, 1999
Contract: J.J. Balaban
Athlete of the Century
Washington, DC - Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) introduced a bipartisan resolution in the United State House of Representatives last week to name Jim Thorpe "America's Athlete of the Century".
Congressman Kanjorski said, "Over the past one hundred years, America has been fortunate enough to be the home of many talented athletes who have distinguished themselves in their sport, but none deserves the label of "The Greatest" more than Jim Thorpe. His achievements were on a scale almost unimaginable today. His most famous achievement is winning both the decathalon and the pentathalon during one Olympic year, a feet that has not been matched in the ensuing 87 years. After that triumph, he excelled at both professional football and baseball, participating in both sports concurrently for seven years."
Congressman Kanjorski continued, "It is unsurprising that an Associated Press poll in 1950 named him to be the America's Greatest Al-Around Male Athlete and that a 1977 national poll found him to be the Greatest American Football Player in History. It Would be a great error to overlook Jim Thorpe as America's Greatest All-Around Male Athlete and America's Greatest Football Player of the 20th Century simply because his career occurred in the first half of our century, before the age of television. Congress would be wise to name him America's Greatest Athlete of the Century.
Congressman Kanjorski introduced the legislation with Congressman Wes Watkins of Oklahoma, a senior Republican who represents Thorpe's birthplace. Congressman Kanjorski said that he thought having both a senior Republican and a senior Democrat backing the bill increased the likelihood that the resolution would be approved by the House of Representatives.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that James Francis Thorpe should be designated `America's Athlete of the Century'. (Introduced in the House)
HRES 198 IH