1934. University of Michigan starting center Gerald Ford, and teammate Willis Ward. When Georgia Tech refused to play against a team with an African American player, Michigan decided to bench Ward. In turn Ford refused to play against Georgia until Ward himself begged Ford to take the field.
The future President and Ward were lifelong friends.
Ford’s reputation as a clumsy person is ironic, given that he is the most athletic president of the 20th century. A former All-Star college football player (who turned down offers to play professionally), he was in good physical shape when he entered the White House at age 62. As President, he continued to ski, swim, and play golf and tennis, and was good at all of them