Best Olympian to Pass Through Vegas

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thrope in the 1912 summer Olympics. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Jim Thrope in the 1912 summer Olympics. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Forty years after earning the moniker “World’s Greatest Athlete” in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics with gold medals in the newly included decathlon and pentathlon, Jim Thorpe lived off of Boulder Highway between Las Vegas and Henderson. Perhaps the country’s most famous Native American at the time, born in Oklahoma in 1887, he ran a bar out of a Quonset hut before living his final months in California. Although his medals were taken away in 1913 because the Olympic Committee determined he was paid for playing baseball as a teen, they were restored to him posthumously. His Southern Nevada residency a footnote in a remarkable, but troubled post-athletic life, Thorpe’s presence was enough for a Henderson elementary school to be named in his honor in 1992.

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