Born in 1732, George Washington's physique and ambitions were tailor made for his age -one in which displays of physical prowess were essential to recognition in society.

At six-feet-two inches and with a penchant for rambunctious horse riding, what he lacked in formal schooling, Washington made up for in physical strength, skill and ambition. He took part in almost every sport of his day – archery, fox hunting, swimming, wrestling - and he was also something of a pool shark.


Though he would have little time on his hands to contemplate what his life would mean to the future of America, George Washington helped to define the broader concept of what we call today the "American sportsman."

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Throughout his lifetime, George Washington enjoyed fox hunting during the fall and winter at Mount Vernon, often inviting his neighbors and business associates to join him in the sport.

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Equestrian at War

Equestrian prowess and warfare offered young George Washington his clearest path to fame. His long rides as a surveyor, through the forest on foxhunts, and his bayonet drills in the heat of the summer sun prepared him well for his eventual martial feats on horseback.

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According to Thomas Jefferson, Washington was “the best horseman of the age” and others remarked that he “rode, as he did everything else, with ease, elegance, and with power.”

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Hunting and Fishing

With more nights under the stars than any of our Founding Fathers, George Washington hunted with several kinds of guns and he also fished with his own line and tackle in streams and rivers from Virginia to Pennsylvania.

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Allegheny Expedition

At the age of 21, Major Washington traversed the rugged and unexplored wilderness of the Virginia frontier. He hiked for days through snowy woods, fell off a raft into the ice-choked Allegheny River, and was forced to spend a freezing night on an island without shelter. 

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On the Dance Floor

Like everything, George Washington took his performance on the dance floor deadly serious, once referring warmly to dance as "the gentler conflict."

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The Man & Myth

Separate fact from fiction and learn more about the real George Washington.

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