Thune, Carney, Schiff: ITK’s picks for ‘fittest’ members of Congress

Capitol Hill was abuzz Monday over Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-Ill.) latest turn in the national spotlight: The 29-year-old lawmaker was crowned “America’s fittest congressman” by Men’s Health magazine, complete with a revealing cover shoot. 

In it, Schock’s muscular physique is framed by an unbuttoned dress shirt and accentuated by a deep tan (one that ITK suspects was not, in fact, acquired in sunny Peoria, Ill.). 

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But while Schock might win accolades for his abs, a handful of his fellow lawmakers consistently take top honors on the field, track, court, rink and mat. ITK thinks they deserve some recognition. 

Fastest runner: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is the fastest runner in Congress; incidentally, he beat Schock in last week’s ACLI Capital Challenge 5k race. Thune assumes the title from former Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), who won the race for 12 years before retiring in 2010. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) is the fastest female, having won the ACLI race five times in a row.

Lowest golf handicap: Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) told ITK his handicap is about 2, putting him eight shots ahead of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Best hockey player: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) takes to the ice three times a week in a local Chicago hockey league during the winter, but he’ll be the first to tell you his hobby has resulted in hundreds of stitches over the years. The lawmaker jokingly told ITK this year that he was giving up “grievous bodily harm” for Lent.

Best basketball free throw: Freshman Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) boasted a perfect record from the line, sinking five for five this spring in a congressional contest. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has an equally impressive overall game, having led the Hill’s Angels team to a solid victory over Georgetown professors in a charity game in March.

Best football throw: Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) might have had a disappointing NFL career, but as the third highest pick of the 1994 draft, we challenge you to find another member of Congress who can throw a football like Shuler can.

Newest triathlete: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) takes the cake here. The 50-year-old placed in the top half of a field of more than 1,000 competitors in his first triathlon last year, the inaugural D.C. Triathlon. He told ITK he employed his skills as a high school swimmer, along with three months of hard training, to finish in under two hours.

Best athlete you’ve never heard of: One of Rep. Laura Richardson’s (D-Calif.) best-kept secrets might be that she’s a good enough basketball player to have qualified for U.S. Olympic Team tryouts in 1980. She didn’t make the team, but the U.S. boycotted the Games that year, so she wouldn’t have played anyway.

Best yoga practice: If you’ve ever been to an ashtanga yoga class, you know it’s butt-kicking exercise, but for lifelong Agni yoga practitioner Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), his daily exercise is more of a spiritual thing. “The only way I can describe it is that it’s like meditation in action,” he once said. While Kucinich might not have Schock’s cover-model physique, at 64 years old, he’s ultra-trim and healthy.

Lifetime achievement award: Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) celebrated a milestone last week when he completed his 30th consecutive ACLI Capital Challenge race. At 79, the lifelong runner is a poster boy for consistent exercise.

Best wrestler: Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) wrestling record in high school was 150-1, and he later won two wrestling championships at the University of Wisconsin. “Winning beats losing every time,” Jordan said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

Have an issue with any of ITK’s picks for most athletic lawmakers? Is there someone missing? If so, email suggestions and updates to christina.wilkie@thehill.com