Since the Olympics games started over 100 years ago, renowned athletes have come and gone. Throughout its history, America has had Native athletes who performed remarkably in the field.
More than a century later, America is still boasting of great Native athletes who have made the country proud internationally. They have successfully competed in all kinds of athletic games. Here are the most famous Native American athletes:
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Billy Mills fame didn’t come easily, but he was reaping from his long-time commitment to daily workout amidst challenges. He was from the Oglala Lakota tribe. Mills didn’t run for himself only but for his family and tribe. His most impressive win was the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Reuben Sanders belonged to the Siletz tribe. He descended from the famous band known as Joshua of Tututni from the southern regions of Oregon. He began harnessing his football skills after joining Chemawa Indian School. He is one of the greatest footballers and all-around athletes.
Alexander Arcasa was from the Colville tribe and was a top American athlete in the 20th century. Born in Orient, Washington, he joined Carlisle Indian School in 1909. He played football, and his team was named the best Lacrosse team in the nation in 1912. He started playing halfback and later played fullback.
Jim Thorpe belonged to the Sac and Fox Nation. He was the first Native American to win a gold medalist in Olympics. Born in Oklahoma (then known as Prague), Thorpe remains in the books of history as one of the greatest all-around athletes.
He was chosen by American sportswriters as the best Native American athlete in 1950. He schooled at the Indian Industrial School and Haskel Indian School, where he played football and participated in running.
Charles A., "Chief" Bender
Charles A., "Chief" Bender was from the Ojibwa tribe from the Crow Wing County, Minnesota. He was known as a skillful pitcher in his time in major league basketball. Born in 1884, he graduated from Carlisle Indian school PA.
In his time, discrimination was at its worst, and it is what made him be nicknamed chief because he overcame the challenge and excelled in basketball. Bender didn’t hide his name or shy away from being known as a tribesman or native.
Louis Tewanima belonged to the Hopi tribe and was a renowned distance runner in the 10,000 meters in the 1912 Olympics. He won the silver medal twice. Due to his excellence in Olympics, Louis is honored by his tribesmen with a race every Labor Day.
He joined the Carlisle Indian School in 1907 after a government official forced him to join. According to the school’s superintendent Moses Freidman, Louis arrived at the school practically a prisoner of war.