Sam Hall
Hall in 1960
Personal information
BornMarch 10, 1937
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
DiedAugust 11, 2014 (aged 77)
Florida, U.S.
Height175 cm (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Weight70 kg (154 lb)
ClubWBNS Swim Club
Medal record
Representing 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 politician who served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Early life and education

He was born in Dayton, Ohio, where his father Dave was mayor. His brother, Tony P. Hall, was a politician and diplomat.

Hall began his athletic career began at Fairmont High School, where he was a two-time letterwinner in track and field. During high school, Hall set records for pole vaulting.[1]


In the fall of 1955, Hall enrolled at the Ohio State University, where he lettered in gymnastics, soccer, track and diving. As a trackman, Hall competed in the pole vault and javelin.[1] During 1959–1960, Hall won two Big-Ten Conference championships, three NCAA championships, and three U.S. Amateur Athletic Union titles.[2]


1960 Olympics

Hall won a silver medal at the 1959 Pan American Games and 1960 Summer Olympics.[3] After the 1960 Olympics, Hall served with the United States Air Force and competed in athletics for them, eventually retiring due to a knee injury.[1]


From 1964 to 1966, Hall served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.[4][5]

Pro-Contra efforts

Hall later worked as an unpaid "volunteer counterterrorist," as Hall described himself,[6] 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.[7]

When interviewed by journalists regarding his "volunteer counterrorist" activity, Hall sometimes referred to himself by saying, "They call me the Evel Knievel of Dayton" or "Just call me Sammy of the Sinai."[8]

Personal life

Prior to his death, Hall worked as a real estate agent. Hall died in Florida on August 11, 2014, aged 77.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Sam Hall.
  2. ^ "Swimming and Diving" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  3. ^ Sam Hall Olympic medals and stats Archived 2007-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Hershey, William (December 17, 1986) "Sam Hall: Flag-waver or just an egomaniac?". The Lakeland Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), pp. 1A, 11A
  5. ^ Sam Hall. IACSP
  6. ^ Smolowe, Jill (December 29, 1986) Nicaragua an Ordeal Ends, Another Begins[dead link]. Time.
  7. ^ "HEADLINERS; Out of Nicaragua". The New York Times. February 1, 1987. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Gross, Jane; Times, Special To the New York (1986-12-16). "Two Sons of an Ohio Mayor: Golden Family Torn by Politics". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  9. ^ Stewart, Chris (2014-08-13). "Dayton native, Olympian Sam Hall has died". WHIO. Archived from the original on 2014-08-14.

Further reading