Biography: MEYER, Fredrick

MEYER, Fredrick

Inducted: 1959 – Among Original class of Honorees

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Frederick Meyer was a gymnast who became an Olympian, a stockbroker and a teacher of gymnastics. And all his training and teaching and judging was a matter of passion.  In reading about the activities that made up his day, it seems possible that he had the solved the mystery of being in two or three places at once. By his passion, he racheted up the quality of gymnastics in the U.S. and the number of individuals who wanted to participate. Gymnastics owes Mr. Meyer a great deal. We herein thank you for your efforts that were so successful.

Gymnastics Life: In 1947, The American Turners newsletter, Turner Topics wrote that Frederick Meyer became a Turner at age 18 and at age 37 volunteered to become the Physical Instructor at the Mt. Vernon and Brooklyn Voswaertz Turnverein since he was exempt from the service and was working at the N.Y. Stock Exchange, (1942-’47). He was to substitute for Henry Schroeder. At 3:00 p.m. daily, he would leave work to teach classes.  He had competed in two Olympiads, competed in many District Hallenfests in which he won many 1st places, loved to work with children, and wanted them to have the benefit of the Turner System of physical education. His passion made him a great leader.  He controlled 40-50 children, by himself, on the gym floor.  There clearly was organization and discipline.  He was firm, but he was also soft- spoken and respected by his students.  It was reported that Turner Meyer definitely left a very favorable impression on his students. His teaching ability was from a practical background that he obtained as a pupil of Chris Wuest, Sr., (1923 to ’36).  He was an employee of the New York Stock Exchange for 18 years and was a member of the New York School Board. It was further reported that Mr. Meyer’s activities as a Turner included service as Turnwart and as a member of the technical committee of the New York District, (1942 to ‘47). He was elected Vice President of the American Turners Endowment Fund and served in this position for several years, (1947). Olympic Games: Team-Silver, Los Angeles, California-USA, (1932); Team member, Berlin, Germany, (1936). Meyer is credited with being a medal winner at the Olympic Games by Turner Topics; however, the official USA Olympic Committee results do not confirm this. He may have been within the top three during the preliminary competitions. Meyer was competing for the famous New York Turnverein when he became an Olympian. It is possible that Meyer may have been Jewish.  Several Jewish athletes stayed home or were encouraged to stay away from the Berlin games, usually by concerned family members. Hitler’s prejudices and actions against Jewish people in Germany at that time were well known; therefore, it is reasonable to guess that he was possibly encouraged by some to also boycott the 1936 Games. My kind of man! He went anyway! New York District Championships: Gold-AA, (1930-’40).  Meyer most probably won many local New York Metro medals, the records of which have been lost to time. AAU Championships: Silver-PB, (1934); Gold-AA, FX, V, & PB, (1935); Silver-PB, (1936). It is noteworthy to write that Meyer placed in the top five on the PB event, (1935-’39). Eastern Circuit Turner Championships: Gold-AA four times. Dates were not available.  He was also a member of the New York Turners National Championship Volleyball team and was acknowledged to be an outstanding athlete in baseball, swimming, diving, badminton, and bowling. Judge: Meyer became a frequent and highly respected judge.  One report indicated that Frederick was a judge at the 1952 U.S. Olympic Trials.  This had to be a sample of the respect the gymnastics community had for Mr. Meyer’s judging skills. HONORS: Inducted into the Helms Hall of Fame, (1959); Elected as only the third Inductee to the Comiskey National Gymnastics Judges Association Hall of Fame, (1973).

Sources: Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005 provided the information contained herein in an article in Turner Topics, (1947) and a second article in Turner Topics, (July 1994). Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.

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