SAN FRANCISCO – Bob Mathias, a two-time Olympic champion in the decathlon and former U.S. congressman, died Saturday. He was 75.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement that Mathias died in his home in Fresno, Calif. His brother said the cause was cancer.
Bob Mathias became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in a track and field event in 1948 in London, when he won the decathlon at 17. It was only his third decathlon competition, having qualified for the Olympics by winning two events in the United States.
At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, he became the first athlete to repeat as Olympic champion in the decathlon. Earlier that year, he played fullback for Stanford in its Rose Bowl appearance. Though the Washington Redskins drafted him, he never signed. Mathias also won the 1948 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.
After retiring from sports, Mathias served as a Republican congressman representing California from 1967-74, serving four terms. Following his political career, Mathias became the first director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He also is a member of the U.S. Olympic and national track and field halls of fame.
Mathias was the Associated Press male athlete of the year in 1952.
Mathias is survived by his wife, Gwen, and several children.
I wouldn’t even know the name except for a Sports board game called Decathalon which was made in the 70′s. Others will remember Mathias for much more. RIP.
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