Jim Thorpe's legacy: A Native American's Olympic dream
Mary Killman competes for the United States in the Solo Tech final at the 2011 World Championships held in Shanghai.
May 24th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Jim Thorpe's legacy: A Native American's Olympic dream

By Paul Gittings, for CNN

(CNN) - A century after her childhood inspiration Jim Thorpe won two gold medals at the Stockholm Olympics, synchronized swimmer Mary Killman will be competing in her first Games in London this year.

Like the legendary athlete, Killman comes from a part Native American background in Oklahoma, and is a registered member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN).

Thorpe, who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation, was spoken of in hushed tones by her elders.

"I'm very proud of my background," Killman told CNN. Her tribe are proud of her as well, regularly highlighting her achievements in their publications.

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Barada

    The Citizen Potawatomi Nation doesn't seem to mind. Why do you?

    May 28, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cryptic

    At least she is a registered tribal member, which is far more than Elizabeth Warren and the other 1/32 Wanna bes can claim.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen Anderson

      DRAG that in. Pathetic to shoehorn politics into this.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jose

    A homogenous group does not, DOES NOT, mean – all pure.

    May 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jose

    Well, pure what? You all think people look like some exact stereotype? Many Indian groups will tell you there is even a wide variety of looks in their own groups. That is the sad history, that people are told they all look like some one known of in their own group. Homogeneity is not necessarily the "seen" characteristic that makes up the likeness of a group. Here's hoping you all realize biology says far more than just what could be of its surface appearances...

    May 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lefty5558

    not all native americans are totally brown, grant u being mixed has both advantages and diadvantages,
    i am mixed, and find that my dads family have been trace to th 1600's and the mixing breeds, seems to come into play with my dad marrying my mom who is Irish..
    most native americans married with in thier own families, and attempt to keep the heritage pure..but its also produced alot of phyiscal and mental problems with thier childern....what ever her reason is for wanting to validate the facts of her heritage are between her and her sprit.....either way i wish her good luck with her attempt for the gold medal..

    May 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter

      Let's be honest here that even if she's registered as a member of a tribe, she's probably not that pure in bloodline. Too much time has passed for that, even though we continue to award millions of federal dollars to these programs and recipients who claim a pure heritage. Guilt goes a long way, apparently. This country elected Obama on that same level of thinking.

      May 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. taxedmore

    I am offended by all the "Native American" talk. Their ancestors came from Siberia. Mine came from Europe. They are no more "native" than I am.

    May 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pooh

      The "legacy" headline is a real stretch.

      May 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Su

    Don't let these people bother you. They simply prolong what was once called "The Ugly American." - But, to be totally honest and on topic, I'm actually bothered by the writer's statement that Jim Thorpe won 2 gold medals. - JUST 2 gold medals?! Thorpe rec'd the gold in the Pentathalon (5 events) and again in the Decathalon (10 events). - A truly great man who was destroyed by the American political machine coupled with American prejudices. It's one of those areas that life has not evolved much since when he lived.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Diablo135

      You don't win a medal for each event in the decathlon. You win the overall

      May 28, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. kamanakapu

    The good news is that the white race is declining in europe as well as in america. The bad news is that the rate of decline is not rapid enough.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chief ThinksthisisBull

    If she is Native American then George Bush has an IQ greater than 145.....

    May 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • kamanakapu

      The white man had a 2-prong strategy to eliminate the native americans: (1) shoot them; or (2) screw them.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
      • jim

        Unfortunately, they did too little of the former and too much of the latter.

        May 27, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dduke

    Hey how are you hey.how are you

    Silver in casino management

    May 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Truth777

    so true so true, could not help but laugh how she looks nothing like a true native american, she looks more white then native.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJH

      Wow . . . and just what does a "true Native American" look like?

      May 26, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Fed Up

      What does a "true" Native American look like? Green – lots and lots of green.... in tax dollars paid out.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ZnHcats

    WE all should color blind to our skin colors. But if someone brings it up about his/her heritage, it won't bother me as well.

    May 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fed Up

    I certainly wish her well in representing the U.S. and am proud she's a citizen but let's not make a bigger deal than needed about her heritage – do we introduce Michael Phelps' heritage when he swims?

    May 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat Fud

      Fed Up: If Phelps had grown up in the kind of abject poverty typical of the average indian reservation, you can be sure it would be publicized heavily. That said, Killman's a synchronized swimmer, not a decathlete and pentathlete. It doesn't have nearly the street cred of Thorpe's accomplishments. But WTF. She's an Olympian and we're not, so maybe we should all just STFU and cheer her on when she competes. And Killman is terrific indian name.

      May 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Solo

      She's representing an ethnicity that can boast a 75% unemployment rate. Hurray. Maybe she can get a job at Kinko's after the games.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • kamanakapu

        If all the descendants of the european invaders would return to the land of their ancestors she wouldn't need a job

        May 27, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. LindaLuttrell

    Bravo! Make us all proud!

    May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |