Bicyclist Bobby Walthour Coke Ad

Most people would be surprised to learn that the very first athletes to endorse Coca-Cola were marathon bicyclists. A Georgia native, Bobby Walthour was racing professionally by age 18, winning both sprints and six-day races. In 1901 and 1903, he won America's greatest race, the six-day race held inside Madison Square Garden. He continued to race competitively into the 1920s and was recognized as one of the leading wheelmen of his time.

In 1909,Walthour appeared in an endorsement ad for Coca-Cola. In the text, he said: "When I first went into a six-day race took a jug of Coca-Cola to New York with me and drank it all the time I was there. After that experience, I have never been without Coca-Cola because it keeps me fresh, but does not stimulate and then leave me all broken up."

The original ad is part of our display on Sports and Entertainment.