Philadelphia Produced 12 Olympians Since 1920!
By: Ken Hissner
The first Philadelphia Olympians were in 1920 when 3 made the USA team. There was Sid Loog at 160, William Clark at 147 and Earl Hartman at 118. None came back with a medal from Antwerp, Netherlands.
In 1928 Ray Gatsby was at 126 in Antwerp, Netherlands. No medal.
Photo Credit: Phillyboxinghistory.com
Frankie Sodano was at 112 in the 1948 Olympics in the UK. No medal. Sodano was the first to turn professional and had a very good career going 49-8-1 with 22 knockouts.
It took some time until “Smokin” Joe Frazier brought home the first Gold Medal in 1964 in Tokyo. He had lost in the Olympic Trials to Buster Mathis who broke his hand allowing Frazier to replace him. He would go onto become the heavyweight champion of the world finishing with a 32-4-1 record with 27 knockouts.
In 1968 James Wallington won a Bronze Medal at 141 in Mexico City. The previous year he won the Gold Medal at the Pan American Games in 1967 held in Winnipeg, CAN. He would end up his career at 79-3 winning 3 titles each from 1966 to 1968 in the AAU, Golden Gloves and inter-service tournaments. He was a career serviceman in the US Army passing away at 43.
In 1984 Tyrell Biggs at Super heavyweight and Meldrick Taylor at 126 both won Gold Medals in Los Angeles. Biggs would go onto fight for the world title and finished with a record 30-10 with 20 knockouts. Taylor would become world champion of the IBF at 140 and WBA champion at 147. He finished with a record 38-8-1 with 20 knockouts.
In 1996 David “American Dream” won the Gold Medal at 154 at Atlanta, Georgia. He would go onto become the WBA 154 world champion. He finished at 17-2 with 7 knockouts. Also in the same Olympics was Zahir “Z-Man” Raheem at 119 who would later turn professional and finish up at 35-3 with 21 knockouts. No medal.
In 2004 Olympics at Athens, Greece, Rock Allen represented the USA at 141. He won numerous amateur titles and turned professional posting a 15-0 record with 7 knockouts before a car accident ended his career. No medal.