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Sidney Oglesby

Enshrined 2023

As an athletic trailblazer during his college days to becoming a dedicated public servant, Sidney Oglesby has been making a difference his entire life.

Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Sid was the 11th of 13 siblings with an aptitude for gymnastics. Sid’s gymnastics skills garnered interest from colleges and earned him a scholarship to Syracuse University. He chose the Orange over Michigan and West Point. 

As the only African-American athlete on the SU gymnastics team in the 1960s, Sid endured segregation, racism and the social issues that faced African-American student-athletes during that time. Despite many injustices, Sid did not allow anything to derail his dream of becoming a national champion.

As a sophomore, Sid was the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastic League champion in the parallel bars and vault. He placed first in many other competitions during his gymnastics career in those disciplines. 

Sid’s biggest athletic moment came in 1964. All his years of training and hard work paid off when he captured the NCAA National Champion in the vault with a score of 9.75. Sid was also a two-time National All-American in gymnastics. His achievements at that time were groundbreaking because he was the first and only African-American in NCAA history to earn both All-American honors and win a national championship. 

Outside the gym, Sid the student-athlete was a voice of civil rights change at SU. He, along with 17 of his African-American peers at SU, as a group, publicly supported a University Senate proposal, backed by the Faculty Senate and Equality Committee, to ban further interscholastic competition with segregated schools in 1964. The proposal was subsequently adopted by the University and put into effect for the 1970 school year.

A three-time letterwinner at SU, Sid earned a B.A. in education and an M.A. in Counseling and Rehabilitation in 1968. He received the Syracuse University LetterWinner of Distinction in 2012.

Sid made Syracuse his home and devoted his time to improving his community though city and county government. His civil positions included:

    • Member of the Syracuse Common Council
   • Member of the Onondaga County Legislature
   • Appointed Democratic Onondaga County Legislature Floor Leader


From 2001 to 2015, Sid was the Onondaga County Commissioner of Jurors. He is credited with reducing the number of people called for jury duty each trial from 120 to 65. That helped lengthen the amount of time between jury summons from four to 10 years. 

Oglesby was honored by Syracuse University with the Syracuse 8 Courage Award in 2007 and was named a Syracuse University LetterWinner of Distinction in 2012.

Sid and his wife, Donna, raised two daughters, Sheena and Elena, and still reside in Syracuse while enjoying their retirement years. 

For his accomplishments in college gymnastics and his contributions to the community, Sidney Oglesby, now becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2023.

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