THE LEGEND OF
John Wareing, arguably the father of physical fitness in Virginia Beach, left a legacy when he departed this world. The indelible mark he left on our city represents the important role of physical fitness in the health and prosperity of our citizenry, and the sense of community that its practitioners embrace.
A decorated War hero, John Wareing was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, and was a champion Navy boxer and strongman who was once dubbed the “Strongest Man in the Navy”. After retiring from the Navy to open and operate Wareings Gym in Virginia Beach, John later changed careers again to become the oldest graduate of the Virginia Beach Police Academy. John was a former professional wrestler, TV personality and self-styled raconteur- but always a fitness guru.
Following John’s untimely death in the centennial year 2000, from the debilitating effects of throat cancer, a group of close friends approached the City of Virginia Beach with the idea of erecting a statue of John at the oceanfront, close to where John operated the still popular and iconic Wareing’s Gym. It was from this idea where germinated the John Wareing Foundation. In a relatively short period of time, the many friends of John Wareing contributed over $100,000 toward the design and construction of the now prominently standing John Wareing Statue here on 17th Street, where his legacy is enshrined into the landscape where so many people bike, jog or walk along the boardwalk daily.
Now, 18 years later, John’s job of helping the future generation of Hampton Roads gain the self confidence and character that accompanies these goals, is not yet done. The John Wareing Foundation strives to fulfill this need and continue the legacy that John Wareing started.