The Jim Thorpe Native American Games will bring together thousands of Native American athletes from across the United States to compete in 11 different sports the week of June 9 – 15, 2013. The competition will celebrate the Native American legend Jim Thorpe. The Jim Thorpe Native American Games is a non-profit charitable organization that encourages excellence in sports, academics, health and fitness. The Games will showcase the talents of these athletes and also preserve the heritage and build pride and positive lifestyles among Native American Athletes.
The History of Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe was born in Indian Territory near the town on Prague, Oklahoma. Though no birth certificate exists, May 28, 1887 or 1888 are generally the dates given for his birth, and Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe is the name on his christening certificate. Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox nation, and his Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk or “Bright Path”. His parents were of mixed descent. His father, Hiram Thorpe, had an Irish father and Sac and Fox mother. His mother, Charlotte Vieux, had a French father and a Potawatomi mother.
Jim Thorpe began his athletic career at Carlisle Indian Industrial School. His earliest track and field results are from 1907. Thorpe also competed in football, baseball, lacrosse and won the 1912 inter-collegiate ballroom dancing championship. Jim became a track star at Carlisle, but he wanted to play football as well. Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner, the school’s football and track coach and athletic director, was reluctant to let Jim play football. However, Jim persisted, and Warner let him participate in one practice thinking the physical nature of the game would turn Jim away. The exact opposite happened, and Jim excelled on the football field.
Jim Thorpe would be so inspired by the participants, sponsors and organizers of the Jim Thorpe Native American Games. He spent a lifetime, from earliest childhood to old age, engaging in and promoting physical fitness. One of his favorite sayings was “Boys and girls who would grow up strong men and women must lay the foundation in a vigorous youth.”