Berger,was the first Olympic heavyweight champion, winning the gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis Games, the first time boxing was an event. Competing as a member of the San Francisco Olympic Club, Berger weighed 180 pounds at the Olympics and defeated Charles Mayer of New York City in the final (Mayer weighed 158 pounds, the minimum for the heavyweight division).
Berger turned professional following the Olympic Games but only fought pro for two years. His most notable fight was a six-round no decision against the light-heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O'Brien in 1906. Following his retirement, Sam served as a sparring partner for Jim Jeffries in 1910 when Jeffries made his comeback against Jack Johnson. Berger later owned a clothes store in San Francisco. He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame,
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 25, 1884 - d. Feb. 1925
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)