IOC VP Anita DeFrantz ’74 pens Washington Post piece in support of righting a 108-year-old Olympic wrong
Anita DeFrantz ’74, vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic bronze medalist, published an opinion piece in the Washington Post arguing that the IOC should restore the sole first-place victories rightfully won by Native American athlete Jim Thorpe in the 1912 games.
“For those who know the story of the Native American athlete Jim Thorpe and the 1912 Olympic Games, it may be familiar mainly as an example of how the elitist cult of amateurism a century ago resulted in one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in sports history,” DeFrantz writes in the piece. “But the withdrawal of Thorpe’s gold-medal victories in the demanding pentathlon and decathlon events is better understood as a stinging episode of early 20th-century bigotry.”
After they were stripped in 1912, Thorpe’s medals were eventually returned, posthumously, to his family in 1982. However, since then he has been listed by the IOC as a co-winner, “with competitors he resoundingly defeated,” writes DeFrantz.
“The International Olympic Committee, of which I am a member, should go the rest of the way and restore Thorpe as the sole first-place finisher in his Olympic medal events.”