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The Jim Thorpe Story

This is Jim Thorpe. Look closely at the photo, you can see that he’s wearing different socks and shoes. This wasn’t a fashion statement. It was the 1912 Olympics, and Jim, represented the U.S. in track and field. On the morning of his competitions, his shoes were stolen. Luckily, Jim ended up finding two shoes in a garbage can. That’s the pair that he’s wearing in the photo. But one of the shoes was too big, so he had to wear an extra sock. Wearing these shoes, Jim won two gold medals that day.

This is a perfect reminder that even when life isn’t fair the question is what are you going to do about it today? Whatever you woke up with this morning; stolen shoes, ill health, failed relationships, failed business, don’t let it stop you from running your race. You’ve got an impact to make so get on with living. You can have reasons not to or you can have results.

So when somebody stole his shoes right before he was set to compete in the Olympics, it was probably no big deal to Jim. He simply put on two other shoes that someone had tossed in a trash can. They were different sizes, though, so he had to wear extra socks on one foot to even them out.

He went on to win two Gold medals, but that only touches the surface of what he did in those games. He won gold in the (now defunct) pentathlon, winning four of the five events (long jump, discus throw, sprint, and wrestling). The one event he didn’t win was the javelin. He’s never competed in that event for the Olympics. He finished third in the world.

He’d actually tried to throw the javelin once before, in the Olympic trials. At the time, he didn’t know that he could throw it with a running start. He threw it standing still, and placed second.

Back at the Olympics, he also took part in the grueling decathlon. To give you an idea of how great of an athlete he was, Thorpe finished first in four events (shot put, high jump, 110 meter hurdles, and 1,500 meters.) He finished third in four other events and 4th in two more.

It’s hard to imagine now that pro athletes get paid millions of dollars just to wear a particular brand of shoes. For Jim Thorpe, it didn’t matter what kind he wore.

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