For more than 50 years, the United States Sports Academy (USSA) has been dedicated to providing students with high quality sport education programs, while preserving the legacy of sport and its athletes across the span of time.
Now, USSA is carrying its mission forward after it received permission from the family of Jim Thorpe to offer scholarships, an educational course, and memorabilia room in the name of the legendary multi-sport athlete. In addition, USSA has submitted an application to receive designation as an official Olympic Studies Center, as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). If approved, USSA will name its Olympic Studies Center – the only one of its kind in the United States – after Thorpe.
Born in Indian Territory in what is now modern day Oklahoma, Thorpe is remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century. He won two Olympic track and field gold medals at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, and excelled at baseball, basketball, and football at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was also the first president of the American Professional Football Association, which later became the NFL, from 1920-1921. USSA is working directly with Anita Thorpe, the granddaughter of Jim Thorpe, on this important project.
“What a wonderful honor it is to have the USSA select Jim Thorpe, ‘The Legend,’ for its scholarship, course work, and room,” Anita Thorpe said. “We hope athletes of all ages will be inspired learning about how Jim Thorpe loved the game of sport and that it will help athletes reach their highest goals and dreams.”
“We are honored to partner with the family of Jim Thorpe to bring his name and legacy to generations off students and visitors at USSA,” USSA president Dr. Steve Condon said. “With the Olympics in Paris next year, then in Los Angeles in 2028 the timing is perfect. The name of Jim Thorpe resonates globally as one of the greatest sports figures of all time. By creating a new course exclusive to Jim’s life and times, constructing an honors room with his story, and awarding scholarships bearing his name, we bring his path into today’s light through the lens of the United States Sports Academy.
“The potential of having a one of a kind an Olympic Learning Center with his name makes a global statement unlike any other. For 50 years we have been associated with the Olympic brand through our graduates, participation, and art. If we add Olympians to our roster and the legacy of Jim Thorpe, our brand grows exponentially. What great timing for this.”
Tina Xavie, the Chief Marketing Officer of CMG Worldwide that has represented 3,000 of the most famous entertainers, sports, music and historical icons of the past, played a critical role in the project’s development.
“It has been CMG and my pleasure to work with the prestigious United States Sports Academy and their visionary president, Dr. Steve Condon on this meaningful project,” Xavie said. “Jim Thorpe was the most talented multi-sport athlete in the history of this country and his legacy, integrity and talents serve as an inspiration for not only Native Americans, but everyone that is able to learn who this great man really was.”
The Academy will immediately offer full scholarships in Jim Thorpe’s name to the winners of its annual Scholar Athlete of the Year program in spring 2024. For the second consecutive academic year, USSA is working with Mobile, Ala., television station WKRG News 5 on a yearlong campaign to recognize local high school student athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom and community. Student athletes from high schools in Mobile, Baldwin County, and West Florida have been recognized with the weekly awards. The weekly winners will now become eligible for the male and female Scholar Athlete of the Year award and the Jim Thorpe scholarship for one male and one female student athlete to attend USSA.
In addition, the Academy will immediately begin development of an academic course that will teach its students about Thorpe’s life and legacy. It will also begin development of a special exhibit on campus – home to the American Sport Art Museum & Archives – with memorabilia and art dedicated to Thorpe’s memory.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303.