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The Breakfast of Champions

Back in 1922, when Wheaties first hit the market, it was called Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes…

The breakfast cereal has played a big role in American history, sponsoring the popular radio adventure series Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy from 1933 to 1951. It’s also honored plenty of athletes during the years by putting their faces on the Wheaties box. In honor of the cereal’s 85th birthday, here’s some trivia from the company appropriate for both sports and food fans.

The first athlete to appear on a box was New York Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig in 1934.

Aviator Elinor Smith was the first female on the Wheaties box, also in 1934.

The first athlete to appear on the front of a box was Olympic pole-vaulter Bob Richards in 1958.

In 1984, Olympic all-around gold medalist Mary Lou Retton became the first woman athlete to appear on the front of the package.

The 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins was the first team to be featured on the package.

In 1995, the Nebraska Cornhuskers became the first college team to appear on the box, honoring the team’s National Championship. A Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) team was on the box in 2005, and the University of Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M University Aggies appeared in 2006.

The first professional women’s sports team to appear on the box was the women’s Olympic gold-medal winning gymnastic team — Shannon Miller, Jaycie Phelps, Amanda Borden, Kerri Strug, Dominque Moceanu, Amy Chow and Dominique Dawes — in 1996.

More than 150 athletes have appeared on the front of the orange box. Recent appearances include Nastia Liukin (Olympic all-around gold medal gymnast) and Bryan Clay (Olympic decathlon winner), both in 2008. Other champions include Muhammad Ali (1999), Lance Armstrong (1999) and Jim Thorpe (2001).

Michael Jordan has made the most appearances on the Wheaties package — 18, followed by Tiger Woods who has appeared on the box 16 times.

To read the rest of this article click on the link below:

The Breakfast of Champions through the Years

Express-News

Karen Haram