*SAM GERSON, Pennsylvania ’20, was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Philadelphia at age 11, later becoming a leader in three sports for Southern High School. At Penn, he placed third and first in the EIWA in 1919 and 1920 by splitting bouts with arch-rival Ed Ackerley of Cornell. Gerson finished second to Ackerly at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Sam was captain of Penn’s 1920 team and also the University Chess team.
After graduation, he moved his family from Hungary and became a civil engineer for Sun Oil Company and also the state of Pennsylvania. In 1945, Gerson, who was Jewish, founded Olympians International in Philadelphia which fostered peaceful relationships between countries through their athletic associations. The group became widely respected with global membership and Sam remained involved for many years by attending numerous Olympics through 1972. Many felt the Munich tragedy contributed to his sudden death by heart attack in September, at age 77, a month after the Games.