Two years ago, a Bright Path Strong petition advocated declaring Thorpe the outright winner of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. The IOC had listed him as a co-champion in the official record book.
“We welcome the fact that, thanks to the great engagement of Bright Path Strong, a solution could be found,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned.”
Thorpe’s Native American name, Wa-Tho-Huk, means “Bright Path.” The organization with the help of IOC member Anita DeFrantz had contacted the Swedish Olympic Committee and the family of Hugo Wieslander, who had been elevated to decathlon gold medalist in 1913.
“They confirmed that Wieslander himself had never accepted the Olympic gold medal allocated to him, and had always been of the opinion that Jim Thorpe was the sole legitimate Olympic gold medalist,” the IOC said, adding that the Swedish Olympic Committee agreed.
“The same declaration was received from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports, whose athlete, Ferdinand Bie, was named as the gold medalist when Thorpe was stripped of the pentathlon title,” the IOC said.
Bie will be listed as the silver medalist in the pentathlon, and Wieslander with silver in the decathlon.
World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, has also agreed to amend its records, the IOC said.
Bright Path Strong commended the IOC for “setting the record straight” about the Sac and Fox and Potawatomi athlete.
“We are so grateful this nearly 110-year-old injustice has finally been corrected, and there is no confusion about the most remarkable athlete in history,” said Nedra Darling, the organization co-founder and citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
As the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States, Thorpe “has inspired our people for generations,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians.
In Stockholm, Thorpe tripled the score of his nearest competitor in the pentathlon and had 688 more points than the second-placed finisher in the decathlon.
During the closing ceremony, King Gustav V told Thorpe: “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”