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JIM THORPE, born May 28, 1888, was an American athlete of mixed ancestry (Native American, French and Irish. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football (collegiate and professional), and also played professional baseball and basketball. Dubbed the greatest athlete in the world, Thorpe's achievements received great acclaim from sports journalists, both during his lifetime and since his death. He was the "greatest athlete" of the first half of the 20th century named the "greatest American football player" of the first half of the century. In 1999, the Associated Press placed him third on its list of the top athletes of the century, following Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan. He was ranked seventh on a list of best North American athletes of the century.