2012 presidential candidates and sports
- The Republican nominee was named after Milton 'Mitt' Romney, a former Chicago Bears quarterback and his father's first cousin.
- He became a fixture on the national scene for his handling of the 2002 Salt Lake CIty Games. Before being hired as the president and CEO of the SLOC, plans were being made to scale back the scandal- and debt-plagued Games to save them from possibly being moved to another location. When all was said and done, the Games ended up making $100 million, despite unforseen security costs following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Was a manager for the ice hockey team, pep squad member and joined the cross country running team for his senior year while at his Michigan high school.
- During an exchange with Newt Gingrich in one of the final debates in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor said if he had acheived his childhood dream, "I would have been a football star all my life, too."
- According to Politico, the 65-year-old Romney is "a dutiful jogger" who runs three miles every morning.
- Declined to fill out a NCAA tournament bracket this year, telling reporters "I'm not plugged in well enough this year to do that."
- Received some criticism in May for being out of touch with voters when he challenged President Obama to a waterski contest.
- Former basketball great Charles Barkley said on-air during a playoff broadcast in May that 'we're going to beat you like a drum in November.'
- Said 'my golf game is not that good' in a statement pushing for women to be admitted to Augusta National, home of the Masters. (Augusta later announced in August that two women members would be invited)
- Was criticized for questioning the readiness of London for this year's Olympics, saying there were 'disconcerting signs' in the days leading up to the Games.
- Has taken part in the 'Romney Olympics' the last six years in July at his summer home in N.H. The one-day family event consists of events such as swimming, biking, running and tennis.
Among those endorsing Romney's campaign:
- Olympic champions Mike Eurzione, Dan Jansen, Kristi Yamaguchi, Derek Parra, Kim Rhode and Jimmy Shea.
- NFL players Brady Quinn, Todd Heap and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and Hall of Famers John Elway and Mike Ditka.
- Miami Heat president Pat Riley and Boston Celtics vice president Danny Ainge.
- Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and former baseball greats George Brett, John Smoltz and Dale Murphy and New York Yankees president Randy Levine.
- Former tennis star Jim Courier.
- Broadcasters Vin Scully, (former golf star) Johnny Miller, (former running back) Merril Hoge and ESPN President George Bodenheimer.
- Owners Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Dan Snyder (Washington Redskins), Woody Johnson (New York Jets), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Alex Spanos (San Diego Chargers), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Bill Bidwell (Arizona Cardinals), Stephen Pagliuca (Boston Celtics), James Dolan (New York Knicks), Richard DeVos (Orlando Magic), Bob Castellini (Cincinnati Reds), Mark Attanasio (Milwaukee Brewers), Ken Kendrick (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Peter Karmanos (Carolina Hurricanes).
- During his first home state campaign stop as Romney's vice presidential pick, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan said he was 'raised on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers.'
- The Democratic Party of Wisconsin criticized Ryan for waving a 'Terrible Towel', the symbol of the Steelers, during a campaign stop outside Pittsburgh.
- Considers his political hero to be 1996 Republican VP candidate and former pro quarterback Jack Kemp.
- When Congress is in session, he leads morning P90X workout sessions with Capitol staffers and fellow lawmakers.
- His favorite hobby is fly fishing. He's also an active hunter, fisherman, bowhunter and snowmobiler.
- Likes to noodle catfish, catching them barehanded with a fist down their throats, telling the New York Times 'I know it sounds crazy, but it's really exhilarating.' Noodling is legal in Wisconsin and only a few other states.
- Was on his high school's ski, track and soccer teams and also played basketball. His family went on hiking and skiing trips in the Rocky Mountains while he was growing up.
- Admitted he misstated his marathon time by more than an hour in a national radio interview. Instead of running a "two hour and fifty-something" marathon, it actually took just over four hours.
- Confused Cleveland Browns starting QB Colt McCoy for backup Brandon Weeden during a campaign stop.
- Proposed to his future wife, Janna, at her favorite fishing spot.
- Romney's wife, Ann, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. She credits her love of riding horses for helping her recover and regain strength and balance and has received recognition in the equestrian sport of dressage as an adult amateur at the national level.
- She co-owns a horse, Rafalca, that placed 28th in dressage in the London Olympics.
- Spent a semester at University of Grenoble in France during her freshman year and while there attented the 1968 Winter Olympics.
- Played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse in high school.
President Barack Obama
- President Obama's favorite way to stay fit is to play games of pick-up basketball. In 2010 he needed a dozen stitches on his upper lip after being inadvertanly hit by an opposing player's elbow. He even reportedly has his own sneakers customized with the presidential seal and made by Under Armour.
- Every year since taking office, Obama's men's and women's NCAA basketball tournament bracket picks have been announced on ESPN. In 2009 he successfully picked the UNC Tar heels to win the men's title.
- In 2008 he told "60 Minutes" that he would "throw my weight around a little bit" to have a playoff system added in college football. He has said he favors an eight-team playoff, but thinks that the plans for a four-team playoff are a 'good place to start.'
- Lobbied unsuccessfully on behlaf of Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid
President Barack Obama
- Obama 'broke 100' in the summer of 2012 by playing the 100th round of golf during his presidency. On June 18, 2011 the President joined House Speaker John Boehner for a 'Golf Summit' where political leaders were given a chance to talk about their different opinions pertaining to the debt ceiling.
- The NFL moved the 2012 season opener up a day to avoid conflicting with Obama's planned acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
- When the President welcomed the 2010 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to the White House in August of 2011, he admitted that 'it hurt a bit' as a fan of the Chicago Bears.
- Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas declined an invitation to join his championship teammates at the White House and was latered taunted by Washington Capitals fans wearing Barack Obama masks.
- Thanked the Boston Red Sox for trading Kevin Youkilis to his favorite team, the Chicago White Sox, and caught some flack from Boston fans.
President Barack Obama
Among those endorsing Obama's re-election bid:
- NBA stars LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Vince Carter. Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Walt Frazier, Patrick Ewing and Bill Bradley. Boston Celtics coach Doc RIvers, former New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and NBA commissioner David Stern.
- NFL stars Vernon Davis and Antrel Rolle, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Timlin, Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who Obama selected in 2009 to be the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
- Former baseball star Sammy Sosa and Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino.
- Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sugar Shane Mosley and former great Muhammad Ali.
- Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.
- Broadcasters Desmond Howard and John Saunders.
Vice President Joe Biden
- Vice President Biden was a standout halfback and wide receiver on his high school football team and continued his career as a halfback for the University of Delaware's freshman football team. He also played on his high school baseball team.
- During a campaign stop in Virgina he told Glen Wood, the owner of the racing team that won the 2011 Daytona 500, that he would "trade being vice president in a heartbeat for having won Daytona." A week later he told high school football players in Minnesota that he would give up his job as VP "to go back and play [his] senior year again."
- Made a gafe in San Francisco when he ehtnusiastically told a crowd that "the Giants [are] on their way to the Super Bowl." After receiving boos, Biden retracted his statement and said he had intended to talk about the MLB Giants and apologized.
- Before the London Olympics, President Obama told the U.S. women's basketball team that Biden's granddaughter, Maisy, "will be a Division I player and maybe the WNBA."
- The first lasy told Parenting Magazine that "sports are as important as homework and friends."
- Her fitness and anti-obesity initiative, Let's Move, encourages kids to stay active.
- Reportedly wakes up at 4:30 am daily to exercise
- Encourages her daughters, Sasha and Malia, to play team sports
- Her brother, Craig Robinson, is the men's basketball coach at Oregon State.
- Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, is a fitness enthusiast who has competed in three Ironman Traithalons in Hawaii, as well as several marathons. His fastest time in the Ironman was 10 hours, 39 minutes and 16 seconds in 1999.
- Shortly after finishing his second term as the governor of New Mexico, he successfully climbed Mt. Everest in 2003. He has also climbed Mr. Elbrus, Mr. McKinley and Mt. Kilimanjaro - the tallest peaks in Europe, North America and Africa, respectively.
- Supports legalizing online gambling
- Suffered a broken vertebrae, rib and knee in a paragliding accident in 2005
- Was a member of his high school track team
- Met his fiancee, Kate Prusack, while following a bike ride in 2008. He proposed to her on a chair lift at Taos Ski Valley Resort in 2009.
Sports backgrounds of some of the other party candidates appearing on at least one state ballot:
- Rocky Anderson, Justice: The former Salt Lake City mayor was praised by Mitt Romney for his role in the success of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
- Andre Barnett, Reform: Played football and ran track during his youth.
- Roseanne Barr, Peace and Freedom: Widely criticized for her rendition of the national anthem before a San Diego Padres game in 1990.
- Virgil Goode, Constitution: Defeated Robby Wells, a former Savannah State football coach, fullback and wide receiver of the 1988 Division I-AA national champions at Furman, for the nomination.