A member of the United States boxing team at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, Mosberg won the gold medal in the lightweight division. In a preliminary fight against a South African opponent, Mosberg registered a knock-out only seconds into the fight.
Mosberg, who fought 250 amateur fights and 57 professional fights in his career, began boxing in 1912 in New York City. While serving in the Navy during World War I, Sam was a boxing instructor and the Newport Naval Station lightweight champion. Following the war, Mosberg continued his amateur career and won an Eastern Olympic tryout tournament. He went to the finals, where he later said: "I didn't see why I should have to beat the same fellows I had taken in the Easterns. However, one of those fellows did get a decision over me and when the team was picked I was left off. I was given a chance to go to Antwerp for the Olympics as an alternate with no guarantee that I would fight in Belgium."
On the boat ride, Mosberg defeated one of the three boxers chosen ahead of him so impressively that he was allowed to compete. As he stepped into the ring for the gold medal match, Sam received a telegram from the U.S. which stated: "All Brooklyn is waiting up tonight to hear you win the fight. God be with you. Mother." He defeated his opponent to win the gold medal, and only then learned that "Mother" was really U.S. Olympic boxing coach Spike Webb. Webb, who was the U.S. Olympic coach during the first half of the twentieth century later said, "Sammy Mosberg is the greatest Olympic champion I ever coached." After retiring, Mosberg went into the furniture business and later coached the U.S. boxing team at the 1953 Maccabiah Games. He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 14, 1896 - d. Aug. 1967
New York City
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)