Abraham Lincoln was a Wrestling Champion, with only 1 recorded loss

By the 18th century, wrestling soon became recognized as a legitimate spectator sport, despite its roughness. It was the major physical contact sport among men of all classes, as boxing did not catch on until the 19th century.[1] Among those who were well known for their wrestling techniques were several U.S. Presidents. George Washington was known to have had a wrestling championship in Virginia in the collar-and-elbow style that was county-wide and possibly colony-wide. At the age of 47, before he became President, Washington was still able to defeat seven challengers from the Massachusetts Volunteers. Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, who favored wrestling as an army sport during his days in the Illinois Volunteers, were also well known for their wrestling.[1] Abraham Lincoln, as a 21 year old in 1830, was the wrestling champion of his county in Illinois. At this time, where working at a store in New Salem, Illinois, Lincoln had a famous bout with Jack Armstrong, also a county wrestling champion. Lincoln won decisively when, after losing his temper when Armstrong began fouling him, he slammed Armstrong to the ground and knocked him out. Two years later, while serving as a captain in the Illinois Volunteers during the Black Hawk War, Lincoln lost his only recorded match to a soldier in another unit by fall. Wrestling was also practiced by Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, and Theodore Roosevelt,[4] who always had an inclination to anything that involved physical exercise and did regular wrestling workouts throughout his service as Governor of New York.[1] William Howard Taft who was the heaviest of the Presidents at his "best weight" of 225 lb wrestled collar-and-elbow and was also the intramural heavyweight wrestling champion at Yale University. Calvin Coolidge was described as a "tolerable good" wrestler by his father until around age 14 when he took to "duding around and daydreaming about being a big-city lawyer."[1]




Image Credit