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On May 22 1887 one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century was born in a small cabin in Oklahoma James Francis Thorpe or Wa-tho-huck in his Native American name which means bright future would have a bright future indeed He would go on to make accomplishments in all of football baseball and track and field In 1907 his first year at Carlisle Indian School the young Thorpe displayed remarkable skills in football and track and gained the attention of Pop Warner then Carlisles coach of these sports Thorpe performed his amazing talent on the varsity football team but in 1909 he withdrew from the school and went to North Carolina There he worked as a farmhand and played semiprofessional baseball Returning to Carlisle in 1911 Thorpe played halfback on the football team contributing largely to Carlisle victories over some of the most powerful teams in the country In 1911 and 1912 he made the All-American team Thorpe excelled during this period in many other sports including track and field baseball lacrosse basketball ice hockey swimming boxing tennis and archery Thorpe was a member of the United States track and field team at the Olympic Games of 1912 and he was widely recognized as the worlds greatest all-around athlete after he won both the pentathlon and the decathlon Early in 1913 however the Amateur Athletic Union AAU after learning that he had played semiprofessional baseball voided his amateur status and disallowed his Olympic victories In 1982 the International Olympic Committee IOC restored both his amateur status and his two Olympic medals after his death Thorpe played professional baseball notably with the New York Giants and the Boston Braves from 1913 to 1919 when his weakness as a hitter forced him to retire Meanwhile in 1915 he had organized the Bulldogs a professional football club from Canton Ohio After a series of outstanding seasons with the Bulldogs and other teams he retired
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