When Theodore Roosevelt was a little boy, he had many bouts with a terrible disease. During his childhood, Teddy, as he would later be nicknamed, had quite a few scary moments, for there were times when he couldn't even breathe! He would wheeze and gasp for air as his parents anxiously watched. He often had spells like this where he couldn't get his breath. He had asthma! And it didn't seem to be getting any better. Back in the 1860's, it was life-threatening because there weren't any medicines or other treatments for asthma. But Teddy's father had an idea.
When Teddy was 13 years old, his father called him into his study. Teddy's father told him that he had a good mind, but he needed to build up his body so it would be strong too. Then he showed him a new gymnasium he had built for Teddy in the house. It had weights, boxing equipment, and other tools for increasing upper body strength. With his dad's encouragement, Teddy began a vigorous exercise routine.
Slowly he was getting stronger and better. Within a few years, his asthma was gone! Previously, it hadn't even been certain whether he would live or die at times. But now it seemed he was destined for something great. Would you believe that this sickly boy would grow up to not only be the 26th president , but would prove to be one of our most athletic presidents, as well?