Congress designates Jim Thorpe as Athlete of the Century
1. Resolution submitted to Senate    2. Senate Resolution 91
3. Bill Introduced To Name Jim Thorpe Athlete of the Century
4. House Resolution 198


Separate Printable Versions: 1    2    3    4.

from Congressional Record - Senate S4607



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.




106th Congress -1st Session

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'.

  1. ) Findings: The Senate finds the following:

    1. ) Jim Thorpe is the only athlete ever to excel as an amateur and a professional in 3 major sports--track and field, football, and baseball.

    2. ) Prior to the 1912 Olympic Games, Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and the decathlon at the Amateur Athletic Union National Championship Trials in Boston, Massachusetts.

    3. ) Jim Thorpe represented the United States and the Sac and Fox Nation in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, where he won a gold medal in the pentathlon, became the first American athlete to win a gold medal in the decathlon, in which he set a world record, and became the only athlete in Olympic history to win both the pentathlon and the decathlon during the same year.

    4. ) The athletic feats of Jim Thorpe resulted in worldwide publicity that helped to ensure the viability of the Olympic Games.

    5. ) During his major league baseball career, Jim Thorpe played with the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Boston Braves, and ended the 1919 baseball season with a .327 batting average.

    6. ) Jim Thorpe established his amateur football record playing halfback, defender, punter, and place-kicker while he was a student at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, and was chosen as Walter Camp's First Team All-American Half-Back in 1911 and 1912.

    7. ) Jim Thorpe was a founding father of professional football, playing with the Canton Bulldogs, which was the team recognized as world champion in 1916, 1917, and 1919, the Cleveland Indians, the Oorang Indians, the Rock Island Independent, the New York Giants, and the Chicago Cardinals.

    8. ) In 1920, Jim Thorpe was named the first president of the American Professional Football Association, now known as the National Football League.

      (9) Jim Thorpe was voted America's Greatest All-Around Male Athlete and chosen as the greatest football player of the half-century in 1950 by an Associated Press poll of sportswriters.

    9. ) Jim Thorpe was named the Greatest American Football Player in History in a 1977 national poll conducted by Sport Magazine.

    10. ) Because of his outstanding achievements, Jim Thorpe was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Professional Football Hall of Fame, the Helms Professional Football Hall of Fame, the National Indian Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

    11. ) The immeasurable sports achievements of Jim Thorpe have long been an inspiration to the youth in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

  2. ) Sense of the Senate: It is the sense of the Senate that Jim Thorpe should be recognized as the `Athlete of the Century'.




News From:
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski
11th District/Pennsylvania



June 1, 1999
Contract: J.J. Balaban
(202) 225-6511


Kanjorski Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Name Jim Thorpe
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.




106th CONGRESS - 1st Session H. RES. 198

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

May 27, 1999

Mr. KANJORSKI (for himself and Mr. WATKINS) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that James Francis Thorpe should be designated `America's Athlete of the Century'.

Whereas James Francis Thorpe, known as `Jim Thorpe' Wathahuck-Brightpath, of the Thunder Clan of the Sac and Fox Tribe, was born May 22, 1887, on the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation, Prague, Oklahoma, and died March 28, 1953, in Lomita, California;

Whereas Jim Thorpe began his amateur football career as a student at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where he was named All American Half-Back in 1911 and 1912;

Whereas Jim Thorpe represented the United States at the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, though he did not become a citizen of the United States until 1917;

Whereas King Gustav V of Sweden said, `You, Sir, are the greatest athlete in the world,' when he awarded 2 gold medals to Jim Thorpe for winning the pentathlon and the decathlon;

Whereas Jim Thorpe founded professional football, played professional football for, and later was the first elected president of, the American Football Association (now the National Football League);

Whereas Jim Thorpe played major league baseball for 20 years with the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Boston Braves;

Whereas Jim Thorpe is the only American athlete to excel at the amateur level and at the professional level in 3 major sports--track and field, football, and baseball;

Whereas Jim Thorpe was named America's Greatest All-Around Athlete in 1950 by the Associated Press and in 1977 by Sport Magazine; and

Whereas Jim Thorpe has been enshrined in the Helms Professional Football Hall of Fame and the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives designates James Francis Thorpe `America's Athlete of the Century'.


Separate Printable Versions: 1    2    3    4.

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