This is a piece from Jeff Benjamin on Jim Thorpe and his AAU Hall of Fame Induction video. Jeff Benjamin has encouraged the movement to give Jim Thorpe the recognition that he deserved. Jeff has been talking about this AAU Hall of Fame ceremony ever since it happened. 

Highlight Of 2023 -An AAU Hall Of Fame Induction For Jim Thorpe

by Jeff Benjamin

“The real criteria for making it to our Hall is that, at one time, you held an AAU card from the Middle Atlantic. Jim Thorpe would have gone in earlier, but we had to track down his AAU info. When he was in the Carlisle School, he ran in the AAU meets…so he had a Middle Atlantic AAU card.”

Jim Thorpe, painting by Charles Banks Wilson

– Mid-Atlantic AAU District Director Alison Eachus

In June of 2023, another statement to the greatness, as well as the over 100 years of injustices, towards Jim Thorpe was rectified, and it may very well be the last one that finally “closes the book.”

Jim Thorpe, as a football player, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

In 1983, the International Olympic Committee restored Thorpe’s 1912 Olympic Pentathlon & Decathlon Gold medals to his family (Thorpe died in 1952).

In 2021, the IOC finally reinstated Thorpe as the SOLE champion in both Olympic events in the official record books.

Jim Thorpe, senior writer/East Coast, at Jim Thorpe Monument, photo by Jeff Benjamin

Finally, riding along on the wave of these wonderful events was the induction of Thorpe into the Mid-Atlantic AAU Hall of Fame. The event took place before a crowd of a few hundred people, notably youth AAU members which was held on the outskirts of Philadelphia at the Conshohocken Marriott.

1952 Olympic Steeple Gold Medalist Horace Ashenfelter and 1912 Olympian J.E. ‘Ted’ Meredith were inducted during the Hall of Fame banquet, as well as former WNBA and University of Tennesse basketball star Michelle Marciniak.

Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, by AAU

Juaquin Hamilton Youngbird, the Ambassador of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, and Johanna Smith, Library/Archival Tech, Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, were at the ceremony to accept Thorpe’s award, which was a long time coming.

“Justice has definitely been restored to Jim Thorpe tonight,” said Youngbird. “His story will always inspire future generations.”

“Jim Thorpe’s story is one of dedication,”
said AAU President Jo Mirza. “It stands as a lesson to young athletes.”

Bell lap – In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, over $27,000 in scholarships were awarded to eight deserving student-athletes…This writer is once again grateful for the help and support of Thorpe aficionados and scholars Bob Wheeler & Flo Ridlon!