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Presidential physical fitness award badges, certificates & tests required to make the team (1966-1987)

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Presidential Physical Fitness

About the Presidential Physical Fitness Award (1968)

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award is the highest award given for performance on the AAHPER (American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation) Youth Fitness Test. Established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, this award honors students who demonstrate exceptional physical achievement.

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award program is designed to: 1) motivate boys and girls to develop and maintain a high level of physical fitness; 2) encourage good testing programs in the schools. 3) stimulate improvement of health and physical education programs and 4) provide additional information on the physical condition of America’s youth.

The program was conceived by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and program details were developed jointly by the Council and the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. It is administered by these two organizations.

Presidential Physical Fitness Award program instructor's guide from 1987
The Presidential Physical Fitness Award Program, Featuring the President’s Challenge. Instructor’s Guide cover (1987)

The recipients — boys and girls ages 10-17 who score at or above the 85th percentile on all seven test items of the AAHPER-Youth Fitness Test will be eligible for the Presidential Award. They must also be students in good standing and be recommended by their school principals.

The award — recipients of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award receive an attractive certificate suitable for framing. Printed in gold and black, it bears the President’s signature, the Presidential seal, a congratulatory message and the recipient’s name.

In addition, schools are required to purchase an award emblem for each student qualifying for the honor. Three inches in diameter and embroidered in gold. red, and white on blue, the emblem is designed to be worn on sweaters, jackets or blazers.

The emblem bears a white numeral on a red field which indicates the number of times the recipient has won the Presidential Award. A new number will be added each year until 1973, when a distinguished group will become eligible to wear the first Presidential Physical Fitness Award emblems on which the numeral eight appears.

The seven tests are as follows: 1) pull ups (boys) or flexed arm hang for girls. 2) sit-ups: 3) shuttle run: 4) standing broad jump: 5) 50-yard dash: 6) softball throw for distance and 7) 600-yard run or walk.

The test scores are based upon the age, height and weight of each individual student or you can use the age alone for figuring the percentile of the participants. Norms or percentile scores are based upon tests taken previously by students aged 10-17 throughout the United States.


Presidential Physical Fitness Award certificate from Jimmy Carter

This certificate was “signed” by President Jimmy Carter sometime between 1977–1981, together with the patch below.

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award - Jimmy Carter


Presidential Physical Fitness Award certificates from Ronald Reagan

Presidential Physical Fitness Awards guidelines - Reagan


Tryout for the Presidential All-American Team (1967)

Every boy and girl 10 to 17 is eligible. This is a new kind of All America Team. Big guys have no advantage over little guys; boys have no advantage over girls.

In fact, the runts might beat the football heroes because this is a test of all-around physical fitness, not ability in one sport.

Competition is with boys and girls the same age. Boys and girls who make the team will receive from President Johnson an award and a badge, proving they have strength, speed and endurance.

Now is the time to work out. Tryouts will be held in schools all over the country. The 7 exercises are right on this page.

Presidential Physical Fitness ad from 1967

The exercises for the Presidential workout

1. Pull-ups: Boys – How many times can you pull your chin up to the bar? Girls – Pull your chin up to the bar. How long can you stay in this position?

2. Sit-ups: To make the team, girls must do 50 sit-ups, boys 100.

3. 50-yard dash: What’s your best time for 50-year-dash?

4. Standing broad jump: How far can you jump without a running start? Bend your knees. Throw your arms back and find out.

5. Softball throw: With a running start, how far can you throw a softball?

6. Shuttle run: How long will it take you to do this twice? Run 30 feet. Pick up a block of wood. Run back.

7. 600-yard run-walk: Can you make it around the outside of a football field twice without pooping out?

The Presidential Physical Fitness ad from 1967

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Presidential Physical Fitness award badge/patch/emblem – Year 1

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award badge - year 1


Kids are in school for 12 years. But most of them will never make a team. (1968)

Now there’s a new kind of team at school. The President’s All-America Team. And everybody’s got the chance to make it. Big guys have no advantage over little guys. Boys have no advantage over girls.

This is a test of all-around ability (not how good you are in one sport). Kids have to run, jump, sit-up, pull-up and throw a softball. Last year, 50,000 kids made the President’s All America Team. Tryouts are starting again in schools all over the country.

What can you do to help?

(1) You’ve already done something. Now you know a little bit about the program.

(2) Find out if your school participated last year. If not, you can write away for official application forms and other information to help you. Write: President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Washington, D.C.

(3) If you’re a physical education instructor, you can increase your students’ chances of making the President’s All America Team. Let them practice the seven basic exercises before the tryouts start.

(4) Encourage every student to get in shape and win the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Can your students snake the President’s All America Team? They’ll never know unless they try out.

The Presidential Physical Fitness ad from 1968

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Presidential Physical Fitness award badge – Year 6

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award badge - year 6


State champion program (1987)

Established in 1972, the State Champion Program recognizes outstanding school achievement in physical fitness. The State Champion Award is presented annually to three schools in each State. It goes to the schools that qualify the highest percentage of eligible students for the Physical Fitness Award in each of three enrollment categories: fewer than 100 students; 101-500 students; more than 500 students. Each winning school receives a certificate. Every student who earns the Presidential Physical Fitness Award and helps the school become a State Champion receives a special embroidered State Champion emblem.

Presidential Physical Fitness Award - State Champion badge patch


Fitness program qualification requirements (1987)

Presidential Physical Fitness Award guidelines 1980s - Requirements for boys and girls

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Letter to instructors from Ronald Reagan (1986)

The White House – Washington – July 16, 1986

Physical education plays a vital role in today’s society. Mounting medical, social, and psychological research continues to support the role of physical fitness in promoting mental and physical health, well-being, improved work capacity, and intellectual performance.

It is in the physical education environment, be it at school, in parks or recreation facilities, community centers, camps, and even hospitals, that children and youth learn this important association.

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award Program is designed to enhance the teaching of physical fitness. With a goal in mind, young people are encouraged to challenge their bodies to achieve a level of fitness considered to be outstanding. Not all students will qualify, as is the case with any recognition program. But all students can be given the opportunity to try, and in the process improve and reach new levels of fitness.

This year the program has been changed, and now younger children will be eligible to participate. Since lifestyle patterns are established early in childhood, I am pleased to see that this change has been made; and I look forward to hearing about the first boys and girls in the new age groups to receive the award.

As administrators of the program, you hold the key to its success, and to the success of the children and youth in your charge. Accurate and useful information, taught with enthusiasm, will have a positive effect on tomorrow’s adults. We are a nation in search of excellence. Promoting physical fitness in education will help us achieve that goal.

Ronald Reagan

Presidential Physical Fitness Award - Intro letter from Ronald Reagan

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Presidential Physical Fitness Award guidelines 1987


Presidential Instructor Emblem (1987)

A Presidential Instructor Emblem is available to teachers and other instructors who qualify young people or the award. The emblem is four inches in diameter and embroidered in gold, red, white and blue.

Presidential Physical Fitness Award - Instructor emblem

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Presidential Physical Fitness Awardfor year 7

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37 Responses

  1. I’d like to replace my stolen/lost awards. What information will you need me to provide you with in order to get them replaced and personalized.

  2. I received the Presidential Physical Fitness Award while serving in the US Army in 1987 at Fort Huachuca, AZ by the US Army Intelligence Center And School. Do you have record of this award? Also, I need to obtain another patch since my patch was destroyed while in storage. Your response will be gratefully appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Anglia Davis-Emmendorfer
    Leavenworth, Kansas

  3. all of my Presidential Physical Fitness Awards (certificates & patches) were lost(certificates) and the patches were blown away in a Tornado in Omaha Nebraska. How does one go about getting replacements?
    Pam Knox Higgins

  4. My presidential physical fitness awards are loss.Can you please replace .The year recieve approximately 1971-1975. Please reply.I would truly appreciate. These awards are dear to my heart and I remember working extremely hard for them.

    Thank you so much.

  5. I too won the presidential physical fitness award signed by Jimmy Carter although no longer can find them. I would love ANY HELP of obtaining another one along with a patch. Can you please help? Thank you so much!

  6. I also want to get replacement awards. I won them and they were lost or stolen. Please let me know if it’s possible to get them, thanks

  7. Does anyone remember how many pull ups a female had to do? I remember 50. I know it was 50 sit-ups, but I cannot remember any of the other requirements. Can anyone refresh my memory. Thanks very much!

    1. I won three award but I don’t remember all the requirements we had to do can u refresh my memory so I can share it with my grandkids thanks

  8. Terry R. Templin
    I received the Presidential Physical Fitness Award in 1967-68. I am now 58 years old and would love to replace this Award. Please notify me of how I may obtain information regarding this matter.

  9. Wondering if anybody remembers this. …back in the late 1960’s and early 70 there were the “Presidential” fitness tests. To earn that top patch was pretty tough to do—really tough actually…only 2 or three kids a year would earn it partaking in the gym class tests (ours were held using in the spring). But there were two other patches/certificates levels a kid could earn if he/she was a decent athlete. If I remember correctly the patch had a triangle enclosed in circle with silhouettes of two figures with their arms and legs spread like doing jumping jacks. I think the patches had embroidered print reading: “fitness usa aahper,” around its circumference and said “merit” within the inner circle. One featured a yellow/goldish color, and I think I remember it being called the “80th Percentile.” The other had a white background and was called the “50th Percentile” Does this ring a bell to anybody? Thanks!

  10. 1968, I was the first freshman to win first place Wilson h.s. hacienda heights. 60 sit up, push up, and more events. It was fun times

  11. I also won 7 patches and was told if you completed all 7 you would be invited to the white house! Long story and many years later. I won a Gold Medal at the Olympics and did not make it for that accomplishment either.

  12. Recalling this test and worked my ass off to get this award which I did in the 8th grade.
    over 8′ in the standing broad jump, 14 pull ups, 1:48 in the 600 yd run, 9.3 secs in the shuttle run, 180 ft in the softball throw (not great), and 7.2 secs in the 50 yd dash (also not great)..All that …and still didn’t impress the girl I had a huge crush on! Got a silver at the Junior Olympics for this. Averaged about 8′ 4″ in the standing long jump and was only 5’3″ tall at the time.

  13. Like everyone else in the forum, I would do anything to replace my two presidential awards from the 70s with patches… tell me what I have to do? thank you… Master J. Townsend Tremblay

  14. I remember busting my ass for this in the 7th grade, and our lazy teacher never submitted the info or whatever needed to be done – so we never got our awards! That really hurt for a 12 year old. You can’t imagine – seeing it advertised on TV (when there were only 3 and a half channels and NO way to record them), seeing the magazine ads for the program – and you were going to earn the award, too! Now, Nixon is dead, the program is long gone, and I have been pissed ever since. I’ve also developed a bad attitude towards athletics for going on 50 years. I helped get rid of it as a requirement in our school system. It’s nothing but a disappointment. Take that.

      1. I received mine as well when I was 12. I also lost it and would like to know how to replace it. It wasen’ Easy to get; that’s why I never forgot about it to this day I am very proud.

  15. I remember these things. All year long for P.E. we would play kickball, dodgeball, volleyball, then, for one week, we were all expected to do these physical fitness tests: push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, broad-jumps, softball throw, 50-yard-dash, etc. Most of us did horribly. Why didn’t they have us doing those exercises at least a few times a week throughout the year? A couple of days after the tests EVERYONE was sore and could hardly walk without limping. Poor planning on the school’s part.

  16. I received this award in 1981 and I was the only one in my school that had ever received it. I still have the patch and use this to teach my kids to give your all at any chance you get. I was not the most athletic kid in my school but, I had heart.

  17. I remember these so well I received this award 4 times in a row and was the only one in our school to achieve this. I still have 3 badges and the certificates that were signed by Richard Nixon (2) and re other by Lyndon Johnson some time over the years I have lost one of my badges .😢

  18. I was fortunate enough to pass the test all 5 years. My good friend at the time also passed it every year and we urged/coached each other along. The first 3 years, we were the only ones in school to pass the test (pull ups were by far the hardest segment those first 2 years). I remember crying that first year because our P.E teacher was very much “by the book” and questioned wether my chin cleared the bar 100% on my last rep. She reluctantly agreed- although by my hairless chinny-chin-chin. By 7th grade, more guys were passing and a few girls.
    I often wonder what percentage of children passed that test every year? I also felt that there should have been an additional award for those who passed every year. I was very proud of the fact at the time. I didn’t play any school sports, as I was busy practicing martial arts.
    I’m also exceptionally proud of my younger sister who went on to pass the test 5 times in her own right. Quite the accomplishment. Like many others here, I somehow lost my patches and certificates over the years. Too bad.

  19. Michael , July 28, 2018. Hello. I was an athlete for the 12 years I was in public school. I played football and baseball but I got tired of team sports. I began skateboarding, surfing and my love .motocross! I was fed up with the egos of team sports elite. My question is I received 6 or 7 presidential physical fitness awards and patches but I am not sure of exactly how many and what years they were awarded? How do I find this out? I received patches with the wrong numbers because I was told they did not have higher numbered patches, so I have patches1-5 and 2-#1’s and 2-#3’s and 2-#5’s. Please contact me with this information if possible. Thank you

  20. Good day. I don’t remember exactly how many patches I received, I think it was 7 or 8 but I am not sure. I remember a couple of years I was the only person in the school that received one. I believe I still hold the sit up record in elementary, middle and high school. 72 in one minute. I was wondering how I can document exactly how many I received and the years that I did. Thank you

  21. Rudi here. I remember this program so well. Won my patch spring 1968. Still on my gym suit. So proud. A non athlete so this was something 4 me. I really pushed myself. Randolph Jr High. No gym teacher pushing or helping me cause probably thought I’d never make it. Timed running the hardest. Only made it cause I knew if I could keep up with fastest girl n class I had a chance. 66 now & still so proud of that patch. Hard work & gym teacher was no push over. We pushed ourselves hard guys. Proud 2 be a member of this yeam.

  22. I was told when I graduated high school in ‘83 there were only a few who have ever done this 8 years in a row? But it was something a few looked forward to each year and trying to be better every time out! Sorry kids need the push to succeed and this was a great one!

  23. I was one of only 2 students awarded in 1966-67 for the first time at Catholic University in Puerto Rico the physical fitness award. Where I can get a replacement patch and certification. Thanks

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