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.