From Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders to John Kasich, the 2016 candidates for President of the United States all have connections to sports.

By Justin Weiss

With the Iowa Caucuses a mere week away, Elite Sports NY decided to look at each and every Presidential candidate’s involvement in the world of sports.

You wouldn’t believe it, but many of the fifteen candidates for POTUS played sports during their childhood, have fantasy football teams, and have either owned or placed wagers on sports.

Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

Sports may have paved the way for Clinton to be Secretary of State, Caitlin Kelly of Glamour suggested in 2012. “Sports helped me to learn how to be part of a team,” Clinton said. “It also helped me learn how to lose. You can’t win every time you go out, and you have to figure out what you’re made of after you do lose and whether you’re ready to get up and keep going.”

She discussed the impact of sports here:

Bernie Sanders (D-VT)

Much of Sanders’ childhood surrounded the Brooklyn Dodgers, Les Carpenter of The Guardian reported:

“Sanders had just turned 16 and friends say he was devastated after Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley announced the transfer. The Dodgers had been an essential part of his childhood in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn where he could walk to their ballpark, Ebbets Field, and buy a ticket for 60 cents. Even today he can name the Dodgers 1950s infield of Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Billy Cox. Then they were gone, whisked away to California.”

Martin O’Malley (D-MD)

Before Super Bowl XXXV between the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, O’Malley and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a friendly wager about the game and even trash talked about it.

Donald Trump (R-NY)

Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP race, is credited by many to have ruined, among other things, the United States Football League. ESPN had a 30 for 30 film that explored Trump’s role in the demise of the “No-Fun League’s” alternative.

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Keith Olbermann once dubbed Cruz as the “worst person in the sports world,” after the politician joked that “Tom Brady was framed and I have it on good authority that Hillary Clinton did it….Why do you think she deleted her emails?”

Marco Rubio (R-FL)

‘Nuff said?

Ben Carson (R-FL)

Not much, but this endorsement:

Jeb Bush (R-FL)

During a Republican debate in late October, Bush spoke excitedly about his fantasy football team, telling the audience how his team is 7-0 thanks to contributions from guys such as Rob Gronkowski and Ryan Tannehill.

“I’m doing great, but we’re not gambling,” Bush said about the issue (or lack of, for that matter) of fantasy football.

His brother, former President George Bush, was the owner of the Texas Rangers from 1989-94.

Chris Christie (R-NJ)

Christie’s been spotted playing charity softball in the past, while he argued that fantasy football isn’t an issue:

“Are we really talking about getting the federal government involved in fantasy football? Wait a second. We have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work, we have ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us and we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop? Can we stop? How about this? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing? Secure our borders, protect our people and support American values and American families. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play, who cares?”

John Kasich (R-OH)

Rand Paul (R-KY)


Carly Fiorina (R-VA)


Rick Santorum (R-PA)


Mike Huckabee (R-AR)

Huckabee (yes, he’s still in the race), is a big rodeo fan.

“There’s nothing like it,” Huckabee said. “Having grown up in Arkansas and seeing rodeos, I thought I had seen a rodeo until I came to the NFR. Then you realize this is comparing the World Series to Little League. It’s extraordinary cowboys and cowgirls who are at the top of their profession.”

Jim Gilmore (R-VA)


Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.