HGere’s a look back at the exercise requirements, the awards, the badges and more!
About the Presidential Physical Fitness Award
Article from 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.
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.
Presidential Physical Fitness Award certificates from Ronald 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.
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-yard-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?
Presidential Physical Fitness award badge/patch/emblem – 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.
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.
Fitness program qualification requirements (1987)
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.
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.