JIM THORPE, Pa. | "That's an original medal when he came back from the games in 1912. They had a ticker tape parade for the athletes in New York," John Thorpe said as he spoke with WFMZ's Bo Koltnow.
But for Jim Thorpe's grandson, John Thorpe, two medals in particular have dominated family conversation for a century.
"The person they gave these medals to he didn't want to accept them," John Thorpe said. "He realized he'd been beaten and Grandpa Jim Thorpe had won."
In the 1912 Olympic Games, Thorpe won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon.
"Left shoe, I believe, was two sizes too big so (he) had to put on two pairs of socks," said Karliene Zach, manager of the Mauch Chunk Museum.
She explained how the night before the competition Thorpe's shoes were stolen and he competed with two different sizes he found in the trash.
"Well, he had to be behind the line with one foot and the other with the bigger shoe on it," Zach said. "During the broad jump, you have to hit a line and can't go over that line."
Thorpe still managed to set a record for total points in the decathlon, which stood for a decade. His medals were stripped, however, after it was learned he had been paid a small sum to play minor league baseball.
The Native American community, including John Thorpe, feel racism played a role. During the 1983 games, his medals and name were restored to the record books but as a co-winner.
Now with a forthcoming movie about his life, Bright Path Strong, is a movement to restore Thorpe as the rightful sole winner. Nearly 20,000 people have signed the petition.
"I think it's due time, and I think the time is now with everything going on in the world today there is no room for racism," John Thorpe said.
As John Thorpe takes sage and cleanses his grandfather's grave, he can only hope the International Olympic Committee does the same for the record books.
In a response to 69 News, the IOC issued the following statement"
"The story of the personal achievements and the difficulties faced by Thorpe during his life is a source of unquestionable inspiration in itself for current and future generations, which cannot be increased by retroactively adjusting the ranking of the other athletes."