The Greatest Athlete In The World

That’s what everyone agreed. Jim Thorpe was at the 1912 Olympics, but legend had to make him even more—and draconian rules had to take it all away

Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden

Jim Thorpe throws the discus at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, where he was awarded the gold medal in the decathlon.

Americans have always demanded that their heroes be more than human. George Washington had to have thrown the dollar across the Potomac, Davy Crockett had to have wrestled a grizzly, Babe Ruth had to have come through for a dying boy with a promised home run. We all know that these stories are Sunday truths, but somehow the men wouldn’t be the same without them.