By Mike Rowbottom

A new archive of letters and memorabilia of Jim Thorpe has been discovered ©Getty ImagesFebruary 2 - A new archive of letters and memorabilia of the much-maligned Stockholm 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe has been discovered, and will eventually become available to a wider public.

David Wallechinsky, author of The Complete Book of the Olympics and The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, told insidethegames that he had just found a collection of items relating to Thorpe which belonged to his late father, the journalist and novelist Irving Wallace, who died in 1990.

"When my father was a struggling journalist in Los Angeles, he came across Jim Thorpe, and asked if he could ghost write some articles for him.

"I recently cleared up some boxes and found my father's whole collection of those articles.

"It was overwhelming for me - the boxes also contained letters and memorabilia Thorpe had given him.

"I'm not going to write about it, but I will make it available to people.

"We are going to scan it, and make it available for those who want to see it."

Thorpe, of Indian stock, was stripped of his Olympic gold and had his name struck from the records when it emerged in 1913 that he had infringed his amateur status two years before the Stockholm Games by earning $25 (£15/€18) a week from playing minor league baseball.

"Rules are like steamrollers," Thorpe later wrote.

"There is nothing they won't do to flatten the man who is standing in their way."

There had been a movement since 1914 to reinstate his performances, but it had still met with no success by the time Thorpe died in 1953.

Jim Thorpe competing at the 1912 Olympic trials in New York ©Getty ImagesJim Thorpe competing at the 1912 Olympic trials in New York ©Getty Images

His ban was lifted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and his name returned to the gold medal position, in 1982.

"The Jim Thorpe story always had a special resonance for me," Wallechinsky added.

"It showed how we sometimes treat our heroes."

Wallechinsky, who will be at the Sochi Winter Games as a television and radio commentator, also confirmed that the next version of his summer Games almanac would be published ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

"We will do it ourselves," he said.

"No publisher in the United States does a book that big.

"We don't do reference books any more - everything is online.

"But even the e-book version is huge."

Read the full exclusive insidethegames interview with Wallechinsky here.

Wallechinsky's latest version of the Complete Book of the Winter Olympics has been published ahead of the Sochi Games and is available here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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