OLYMPIC URBAN LEGEND: Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller took on a fake identity so he could represent the United States in the 1924 Olympics.
Followers of U.S. politics surely know of the controversy that surrounded President Barack Obama and his birth certificate throughout his pursuit (and attainment) of the highest elected office in the United States. "Prove you were born in America" was a common refrain from certain circles (heck, even after the President did reveal his birth certificate that has not stopped some folks who still believe he was born outside the United States). Eighty-seven years ago, there was another political "birther" topic, only it was about Chicago swimmer Johnny Weissmuller.
In the days leading up to the qualification tournament for the 1924 United States Olympic swimming team, Illinois Representative Henry Riggs Rathbone expressed his doubts that Weissmuller, the swimming sensation (who later went on to become a film superstar as the portrayer of Tarzan on the screen), was born in the United States. Why won't he produce a birth certificate? Was he eligible for the U.S. Olympic team? Obviously, the U.S. Olympic swimming team allowed Weissmuller to compete, since he won five Gold Medals for the U.S. in 1924 and 1928.
But was Weissmuller a U.S. citizen when he won Olympic gold?
Let's find out!