The Presidents and the Games They Played

Eric SalomonContributor IJanuary 20, 2009

As Inauguration Weekend comes to a close, I would like to take a moment and reflect on the people who have served as President of the United States. What we sometimes forget is that being President only makes up a small fraction of who a person is. 

Athletes and politicians are not always bread from the same kinds of families. There have been a few over the years, however, who have embraced sport and statesmanship.


Barack Obama

The newest of our Presidents also happens to be one of our most athletic. President Obama is an avid fan of basketball and a pretty good player. He played on his high school basketball team in Hawaii and used the game as a way to relax during stressful campaigning. 


George W. Bush

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about President Bush's politics. But if you ask me, the worst move he ever made was allowing Sammy Sosa to be traded from the Texas Rangers to the Chicago White Sox (perhaps that was foreshadowing as to who he would hand over power to). 

The most recent former president is a dedicated baseball fan who once partly owned the Texas Rangers.  He also played on the Yale baseball team.  During his presidency, Bush was known to go for long runs and bike rides.  It was once reported that he had a resting heart rate of 47, which is very good for a man his age.


Ronald Reagan

The 40th President used his size to his advantage during his athletic years.  Reagan played three sports in college (football, track, and swimming). At 6'1", President Reagan was a dominating figure both in the political and athletic arenas.


Gerald Ford

Perhaps the most accomplished presidential athlete, Ford was a standout lineman at the University of Michigan. He won two national championships as a member of the Wolverines and turned down contract offers from the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions after graduation. Ford also excelled in golf, once shooting a hole-in-one at a pro-am.


These are just a few of the men who have served our country as President while enjoying the benefits being an athlete brings.