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Olympian Jim Thorpe Won Gold Medals with Discarded Shoes

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Olympian Jim Thorpe Won Gold Medals with Discarded Shoes

The famous Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe was no stranger to adversity. Growing up in the early 1900's as a Native American, Jim experienced his fair share of racism and prejudice. But he also felt the blows of life. At the age of nine, his twin brother died. Within a few years, both of his parents also died, leaving Jim an orphan.

But God blessed Thorpe with at least one special talent—his athletic ability. He was one of the first players to ever play professional baseball and football. In 1913, Thorpe signed with the New York Giants, and he played six seasons in Major League Baseball between 1913 and 1919. In 1915, he joined the Canton Bulldogs American football team, helping them win three professional championships; he later played for six teams in the National Football League (NFL). He played as part of several all-American Indian teams throughout his career. From 1920 to 1921, Thorpe was nominally the first president of the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which became the NFL in 1922.

But in the midst of all of his accomplishments, perhaps his greatest was his two Gold medals in the 1912 summer Olympic games in Stockholm Sweden. Shortly before he was to start in the pentathlon, someone stole his shoes. Instead of giving up, Jim went to the trash and found two shoes … of two styles. One was an athletic shoe and another was a loafer. Each shoe was a different size. He compensated by adding an extra sock. He was determined to run the race that he had been asked to run. His perseverance and resolve to finish the race is what enabled him to run it. Jim was determined to run the race set before him with no excuses.

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