Sam Hall (diver)

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Sam Hall
Medal record
Men's diving
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1960 Rome Springboard
Pan American Games
Silver medal – second place 1959 Chicago Springboard

Samuel "Sam" Wesley Hall (March 10, 1937 – August 11, 2014) was an American Olympic silver medalist diver and member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, where his father Dave was mayor. His brother was Ambassador Tony Hall. During his last years he resided in Florida, working in real estate.

Olympics 1960[edit]

Sam Hall's extraordinary athletic career began at Kettering-Fairmont High School; he was a two-time letterwinner in track and field. During his senior season (1955), Sam established a school record in the pole vault (11-3). His record setting performance came at the Miami Valley League Championships, helping propel Fairmont to the MVL team title; the first in school history. While attending Fairmont, Sam also competed in springboard diving; a sport he pursued at the club level.

In the fall of 1955, Hall enrolled at the Ohio State University; while attending O.S.U, Sam lettered in four sports – gymnastics, soccer, track and diving. As a trackman, Hall competed in the pole vault and javelin; his success in those events led to a crossroads: should he pursue a berth on the US Olympic track and field team, or concentrate on diving. Ultimately, Sam chose diving; he was rewarded with international acclaim.

During 1959-1960, Sam won two Big-Ten Conference championships, three NCAA championships, and three U.S. Amateur Athletic Union titles.[1] The pinnacle of Sam Hall's diving career was his silver medal performance at both the 1959 Pan American Games and 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy.[2]

Ohio politics[edit]

In 1965, Hall served in the Ohio House of Representatives.[3][4]


Hall later worked as an unpaid "volunteer counterterrorist," as Hall described himself,[5] going to Central America to fight on the side of anti-communist forces as an advisor to the Nicaraguan Contras. He reentered the national spotlight again in late 1986 when he was captured by Sandinista National Liberation Front forces, which announced the capture of a "spy". Hall was freed after less than two months.[6]

Hall died in Florida on August 11, 2014 aged 77.[7]


Further reading[edit]

Hall, Sam; Larry Hussman; Felicia Lewis (1987). Counter-Terrorist. New York: D. I. Fine. ISBN 978-1-55611-049-8. OCLC 16873424.