In the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Jim Thorpe won both the Pentathlon and Decathlon events. He also placed fourth in the high-jump and took seventh place in the long jump in the individual events. That’s 17 events in a span of a week!
In 1913, the IOC unanimously decided to strip Thorpe of his Olympic titles, medals and awards and declared him a professional.
The 1912 Decathlon included competitors such as future International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage and local favorite Hugo Wieslander who went on to Hollywood fame.
Avery Brundage is the only American to hold the office of the IOC President (1952-1972). As long as Brundage was President, Jim Thorpe would never see that Gold medal.
However, in October 1982, the IOC Executive Committee approved Thorpe’s reinstatement, as “co-winner” of the Decathlon. It sort of reminds me of the judging error in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with Canadian synchronized swimmer Sylvie Frechette and American Kristin Babb-Sprague. To this day, both are awarded the Gold medal.
The First Decathlon
1912 was not the first Decathlon ever held. The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis held a similar event called the “All-Around Championship” with the Gold medal awarded to Tom Kiely.
All ten events were held on the same day, and the events consisted of:
- 100 yard
- Shot Put
- High Jump
- 800 yard walk
- Pole Vault
- 120 yard Hurdles
- 56lbs Weight Throw
- Long Jump
The Modern day decathlon replaced the Hammer Throw and 56lbs Weight Throw with the Discus and Javelin.
They even replaced 800 yard walk with a 400 meters! You can’t be a true All-Around Athlete without running the 400 meters, right?