Born in a small town in the Ukraine on November 30, 1895, Sam emigrated to America in 1906, by himself, to live with sponsoring cousins. He worked to support himself before and after school. Joining the wrestling team at South Philadelphia High enabled him to receive a partial sports scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering in 1916.
At Penn, Sam was captain of both the wrestling and chess teams. He was a two-time Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion at 115 pounds in 1918 and at 125 pounds in 1920. In that same year came Sam’s greatest sports achievement. He represented the United States of America’s wrestling team at Antwerp, Belgium in the Olympic Games and won the Silver Medal in the featherweight class (freestyle). That experience was so important to him that he organized the United States Olympians, an alumni association for former members of the United States Olympic Teams.
After the Olympics he traveled to Romania where he was finally able to bring his parents and three other family members back with him to America and establish new roots in Philadelphia.
His other feats included organizing the Philadelphia Intercollegiate Chess League in 1943 and the Maccabi Athletic Club of Philadelphia. He also served as Chairman of the Middle Athletic States AAU. He was the official historian of the United States Olympians from 1948-1954.
In February of 2001, Sam was recognized for his outstanding accomplishments by being inducted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Hall of Fame.