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Thorpe's Son Starts Drive to Restore Medals 
Tulsa World, August 18, 1981, p.B-3

Arlington, Texas (AP)- His name was Jim Thorpe, and he was considered by some to be the best all-around athlete this country ever produced. 
 
Now his son is leading a petition drive to restore the two Olympic gold medals that were stripped away 70 years ago when it was learned Thorpe had played semi-pro baseball.
 
"He was always kind of bitter that it happened," recalled 35-year-old Bill Thorpe, who lives in a mobile home park here. "...It wasn't the kind of thing he talked about continually. He didn't always bring it up. But I know that all his life he wanted to be vindicated."
 
Jim Thorpe won both the decathalon and the pentathalon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm - but the names Hugo Weislander and Ferdinand Bie are in the records books instead.
 
After pulling down both gold medals, Thorpe later admitted to having been paid $5 a game for two summers of semi-pro ball. He was ordered to return the medals.
 
"So many college athletes in those days played under assumed names," his son says. "Teams used his name as a drawing card and then he was penalized for it."
 
Thorpe himself wrote a letter to the Amateur Athletic Union in 1913, saying, "I did not play for the money there was in it... but because I liked to play ball. I hope I would be partly excused because of the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. I have always liked sports and have only played or run races for the fun of the things and never to earn money."
 
Things have changed in sports today. The rules have been altered so that an athlete may openly sign a pro contract in one sport and remain amateur in others.
 
The first step toward clearing Thorpe's name came in 1973 when his amateur status for the years 1909 through 1912 was restored by the AAU. But the U.S. Olympic Committee must petition the International  Olympic Committee for Thorpe's reinstatement.
 
Hence, the petition drive.
 
Bill Thorpe, local wax museum spokesman Bill Olsen, and Robert Wheeler - who wrote the 1975 biography entitled "Jim Thorpe: World's Greatest Athlete" - banded together to restore the honors to the athlete who died in 1953.
 
Wheeler started the petition drive through the Ohio Jaycees.
 
The Southwestern Historical Wax Museum in Grand Prairie, Texas, set up an exhibit featuring a larger-than-life picture of Jim Thorpe, along with several mementos that the younger Thorpe provided.
 
And there was a petition to sign there, urging the return of Thorpe's title, medals, and trophies. Some 20,000 signatures have been collected in less than a year. The trio is shooting for a million.
 
The trophies currently are being exhibited by the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Olsen estimated their value at $7 million.
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Transcription Notes:
(Volunteer X asked) Do we need to do the ads? Or just the Thorpe story? (Volunteer Y answered) Edited. SI wants everything, even the ads. (Volunteer Z review feedback) Looks good now. Marking as complete.

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