National Archives News

Sports in the National Archives

From soccer pitches to the Rose Garden, Americans—and their Presidents—take sports seriously.

The National Archives exhibit All American: The Power of Sports (on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery in Washington, DC, from September 16, 2022, through January 7, 2024) explored the impact of sports in American life. Here we've explored the National Archives Catalog to share even more about how sports are featured in our records.

Hockey stick patents? We have them. Shots of legendary Brazilian player Pelé, juggling a soccer ball with at least five U.S. Presidents? We have them. Documentation of how in the direst national moments, like war and mass imprisonment, people found solace in sports? We have that, too.

Take a seat in our virtual bleachers, and join us for the wins and losses throughout more than a century of sports images and stories from the National Archives.


The words sporty presidents laid over an image of President Kennedy sailing

The word soccer over an image of a woman goalie diving for a soccer ball

Color photo of two people skating on a lake

Close up image of a white football with the Steelers logo and many signatures

Brown and white dog bounding toward the camera with a tennis ball in his mouth in front of the White House

Black and white close-up portrait of Jackie Robinson

color photograph of a snowboarder mid jump over a snowy hill while another cheers


black and white photograph of men using gymnastics rings in a large gymnasium

color photograph of male student athlete jumping over hurdle