The Inaugural Games in 2012 celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Jim Thorpe’s medal winning and record setting performances in the 1912 Olympic Games in Sweden. Athletes representing Indian nations, bands and tribes from across the United States will gather to share their talents in the spirit of the “World’s Greatest Athlete” and Native American legend….Jim Thorpe.
The 2014 Games will be held in Shawnee, OK this June 8-14. Thousands of athletes will compete in 10 different sports, and is a venue for all tribal nations to unite as one for a week of sports and fellowship.
The Jim Thorpe Native American Games and Access Sports is a 501c3 charitable organization who encourage excellence in sports, academics, health and fitness.
In 2014, scholarships will be awarded to one male and one female athlete who is a graduating high school senior. The scholarships will be awarded based on participation in a sport in the Games, community and cultural involvement and a written essay.
The Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony activities include entertainment and a fireworks show. Last year’s Games exposed several athletes to both college coaches and recruiters helping them receive athletic scholarships.
Athletes representing 70 different tribes have participated in the Games each year.
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.”