In this cartoon, James Sullivan, the powerful chairman of the Amateur Athletic Union, is pictured sacrificing a goat representing Jim Thorpe. On January 27, 1913, the AAU ruled that Thorpe was a professional athlete, thereby paving the way for him to be stripped of the gold medals he earned at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Although the International Olympic Committee, which regulated the games, first ruled that Thorpe could keep his medals, Sullivan insisted on Thorpe's disqualification. The IOC acquiesced. The puzzled crowds in the valley represent the majority of sports fans who felt it was unjust for Thorpe to be stripped of his medals. The tone of this cartoon was echoed by numerous press articles worldwide defending Thorpe and ridiculing the AAU. Sullivan died in 1914 without achieving his dream of becoming the president of International Olympic Committee. At his request, his business papers were destroyed. Although efforts to restore Thorpe's medals began almost immediately, his amateur status was only restored in 1982.

thorpe cartoon

A Moira Productions Film in association with Datline Productions, 2008, Lillian Lincoln Foundation