Thorpe was one of the greatest all around athletes in the history. He became an outstanding college and professional football player, Olympic track and field as well as a baseball player. James Francis Thrope and indian was born near Prague, Oklahoma. His freat-grandfather was Black Hawk, a famous Indian chief. Thorpe began his career a the Carliste (Pa.) Indian industrial School. He was an outstanding running, place Kicker, and tackler and won all-american honers in 1911 and 1912. Thorpe helped establish professional football as a popular sport. In 1920, he became the first president of the
American Professional Football Association now the National Football League.
James Francis Thorpe, but his original Native American name was Wa-tho-huck ("Bright Path"); his parents were of Sauk and Fox ancestry.
In 1907, his first year at Carlisle, young Thorpe displayed remarkable prowess in football and track and won the attention of Pop Warner, then Carlisle's coach of these sports. Thorpe performed brilliantly 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 was widely recognized as the world's greatest all-around athlete after he won both the pentathlon and the decathlon. Early in 1913, however, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), having learned that he had played semiprofessional baseball, voided his amateur status and disallowed his Olympic victories. In 1982 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) posthumously restored both his amateur status and his two Olympic medals.