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iwrite

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iwrite last won the day on December 27 2020

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  1. Here are some notable amateurs who wrestled pro over the past century, with final year of college listed: 1. Robin Reed, 1924 Olympic champion (no college) 2 Pete Mehringer, 1932 Olympic champion (All-American at Kansas, 1932) 3. Wayne Martin, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma U., 1936) 4. Verne Gagne, 2-time NCAA Champion (Minnesota, 1949) 5. Dick Hutton, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma State, 1950) 6. Joe Scarpello, 2-time NCAA champion (Iowa, 1950) 7. Dan Hodge, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma U., 1957) 8. Chris Taylor, Olympic bronze, 2-time NCAA champion (Iowa State, 1973) 9. Brad Rheingans, 2-time Olympian, 3rd in World, NCAA Div. 2 champion (N. Dakota State, 1975) There are many more who tested the waters -- men like Dean Rockwell, Dale Thomas and even some college coaches in the 1930s who wanted to pick up some extra money in the summers.
  2. NJDan -- you are right on the mark! In my book "A Journey: Reflections on 50 Years of Writing, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Heroes", I devote several pages to the times I spent with Bob. Here is a small part of the story: "He shocked the entire world by winning the decathlon at the age of 17. I consider that the single most amazing performance in all of sports history. How can it be possible for a 17-year-old to win the most demanding all-around athletic competition devised by man when he barely knew the rules? Mathias had only trained for a couple of months after his coach at Tulare High School in California first told him about the event. The decathlon is the supreme test of a person's overall athletic ability, proven in ten very diverse events, split over two days. He won a second gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, shattering the world record by 912 points -- and making Bob the first athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal and play in the Rose Bowl the same year!" It's a little-known fact that Bob was planning on going for gold again in 1956, but the AAU ruled him ineligible because he had starred as himself in "The Bob Mathias Story", saying that took away his amateur status. Another brief story -- Glen Brand, Olympic wrestling champion in 1948, told me that he was in the stands when Bob won in London that year and he regarded Bob as the greatest athlete he had ever seen!
  3. Witwhiz -- great pick. I knew Bob Mathias personally and in 2001 brought him to the wrestling museum in Newton, Iowa, for our celebrity golf event. Imagine winning the Olympic decathlon title at age 17, then repeating 4 years later. Bob was also a standout football player at Stanford, made 6 movies, served in Congress, and was a terrific, humble man. He played himself in the movie and it is very inspiring. I have a poster of the move, signed by Bob, hanging in my den. BTW -- he had great respect for wrestlers and really enjoyed meeting Olympic champions Glen Brand, Bill Smith, Dan Gable, Ed Banach and Randy Lewis in Newton. l
  4. NJDAN -- Yes , it is by a vote of selected media members, officials from top organizations, several retired coaches, all past Hodge Trophy winners, and by the fans. A ballot will soon be placed on the WIN website. As the creator of the award over 25 years ago, I get one vote, as does Win publisher Bryan Van Kley -- and no more. -- Mike Chapman
  5. Howard Harris weighed in the 210 range when he pinned his way through the NCAA tournament in 1980, while Lou Banach was around 215 both years he won. Lou pinned two future NCAA champions who were much larger -- Bruce Baumgartner and Tab Thacker (Tab was close to 400 pounds) and beat 390-pound Mitch Shelton, too, then won the Olympics in 1984 at 220.
  6. Dale Anderson, champion at 137 and now an attorney, wrote a fascinating book in 2016 entitled "A Spartan Journey", with the subtitle "Michigan State's 1967 Miracle on the Mat". It was the first official NCAA team title won by a Big Ten school and Dale does a superb job of describing the season. He dedicated the book to Doug Blubaugh, who was the assistant coach to Grady Peninger in 1967. The foreword was written by Dan Gable , who was Anderson's teammate in high school in Waterloo, Iowa, and the introduction was by Mike Chapman, who is also from Waterloo. Anyone wishing more information on the book can contact Dale at daa2000@aol.com
  7. gimpeltf -- In the first book I ever wrote, "Two Guys Named Dan" in 1976, Myron Roderick gave me this quote: "After we made the Olympic team in 1956, we walked into a hardware store and asked the manager if he had a strong pair of pliers and Dan squeezed them and popped the bolt between the halves. The manager said it must have been a weak pair and he gave us another pair and Dan proceeded to do the same thing. As long as I have been in wrestling Dan Hodge has the the most strength in his hands and arms of anyone I have ever seen." Grady Peninger, the longtime coach at Michigan State, said this in the same book: "Dan Hodge was as strong as nine acres of garlic. The tales about him crushing apples and bending the handles of a pair of pliers are certainly not over-exaggerated. Pound for pound, he is the strongest wrestler I have ever witnessed." Dan told me he stopped doing that with the pliers after he broke the handles off a pair and one of them went deep into his palm. Another thing Dan would do is is make a tight fist and then wiggle his fingers very tight together, and it made a weird crunching sound. Gary Kurdelmeier, who was NCAA champion for Iowa at 177 the year after Dan's final season and a very powerful man himself, wrestled Dan twice and was pinned both times. He said each time there were small finger imprints in his arm for hours afterwards-- Mike C.
  8. Dan Hodge's legacy will live on for several reasons -- not only for his total domination on the mat as an Oklahoma Sooner and for the fact that he is the only wrestler to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the only man to ever win national titles in both wrestling and boxing, but because one of the top awards in all of wrestling is named in his honor. To date, over one million fans have seen the Dan Hodge Trophy presented in person since its inception in 1995. But there is also his kindness and patience when attending hundreds of kids tournaments, and during his many appearances at the WIN Memorabilia Show at the NCAA tournament. Once at our WIN Show, there was a long line of kids to get Dan's autograph. Dan was tired from a day-long event but wouldn't stop. The last boy arrived and shoved a piece of paper at him and said nothing. Dan smiled but did nothing. The boy stared sheepishly, and mumbled "Sign." Again, Dan did nothing, just smiled. The little boy looked around nervously and then Dan said "What else should you say?." The boy paused and said softly, "Please." Dan jumped up with both arms raised, grinning -- "You said the magic word!" and sat down and signed. The boy's dad was standing next to me, and said: "What a great lesson Dan Hodge just gave my son! What a great man!" That's the Dan Hodge I knew and admired so deeply. -- Mike Chapman, creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy and author of "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story".
  9. iwrite

    Hodge

    Yesterday (Tuesday), Bryan Van Kley of WIN and I presented the Dan Hodge Trophy to Spencer Lee, in a small gathering of media and UI officials (including Tom and Terry Brands of course) in the press area of the Iowa football stadium. It was a wonderful event and Spencer told us he met Dan Hodge when he was an 8-year-old competing in the Tulsa Nationals. Spencer said it was a real honor to meet Dan and said he wished he could meet him again.... My wife Bev reminded me of a great story. Once at our WIN Show, there was a long line of kids to get Dan's autograph. Dan was tired from a day-long event but wouldn't stop. The last boy arrived and shoved a piece of paper at him and said said nothing. Dan smiled but did nothing. The boy stared sheepishly, and mumbled "Sign." Again, Dan did nothing, just smiled. The little boy looked around nervously and then Dan said "What else should you say?." The boy paused and said softly, "Please." Dan jumped up with both arms raised, grinning -- "You said the magic word!" and sat down and signed. The boy's dad was standing next to me, and said: "What a great lesson Dan Hodge just gave my son! What a great man!" That's the Dan Hodge I knew and admired so deeply. My entire column in the next issue of WIN will be about Dan. -- Mike Chapman
  10. iwrite

    Hodge

    Gowrestle -- There are many ways to measure a person's contribution to a sport. Dan Hodge was the primary ambassador to the very popular World of Wrestling tournaments created by Jack Roller, and traveled the nation for over 30 years to hand out trophies and talk to athletes and their families. Jack says that Dan and his wife Dolores went to over 150 kids tournaments and that Dan inspired tens of thousands of young wrestlers along the way. "He was like the Pied Piper," said Jack. "Kids idolized Dan and followed him around the arena, and he had time for every one of them. He would stay and sign and talk until he was exhausted, because he never wanted to disappoint anyone." I saw Dan do that many times myself. In 1997, when my wife Bev and I created the WIN Memorabilia Show, held between sessions of the NCAA tournament, Dan was our first guest. He sat at our tables at least 15 more times through the years, and he was simply wonderful the way he interacted with fans, young and old. Throw in the fact that he never lost in college, is the only man in history to win national titles in both boxing and wrestling, is the only wrestler to ever appear on the cover of SI, and the biggest trophy in college wrestling is named in his honor, -- and he deserves every recognition that comes his way. He is a true icon of the sport! -- Mike Chapman, creator of WIN magazine, and the Dan Hodge Trophy, and author of the book "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story".
  11. Dan and I met for the first time in 1975 when I drove to Perry to interview him for my book "Two Guys Named Dan". He and his wife Dolores became very dear friends with my wife Bev and me. They were our guests many times at the WIN Memorabilia Show during the NCAA tournament and the fans loved him. I never knew a celebrity that was more patient and kind to all those who came to meet him and get an autograph. Some were even brave enough to shake his hand, and once in a great while someone would say "Give me a shot, Dan!" and in seconds they were begging him to let go! While Dan was entertaining the fans, Dolores was working with Bev behind the tables. They were an incredible team for over 60 years! In 1995, I created "The Heisman Trophy of wrestling" and named it for Dan. In 2009, I wrote his biography entitled "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story" and it sold out within a year. Dan and Dolores stayed with us many times in our home in Newton, Iowa, and we have stayed with them in Perry. I have never known anyone like him and today there is a big hole in my heart. -- Mike Chapman
  12. How about a good book that will acquaint him with great wrestlers and their stories. "Legends of the Mat" offers biographies of 34 wrestling legends like Gable, Hodge, Smith, Kemp, Schultz, etc. Many other wrestling books are on this site as well. Go to www.mike-chapman.com.
  13. I had the great honor of working with Greg during my two-plus years as director of media relations and communications at USA Wrestling, back in the mid 1980s. My office was right across the hall from Greg's and we spent a lot of time talking about wrestling, and life in general. Also, I was in press row in 1973 at the U. of Washington when he won his first of two NCAA titles and was voted O.W. Greg and his wife Donna and their two daughters and my wife Bev and our three kids got together often to play shuffleboard and Trivia Pursuit in our family room. After Bev and I left USA Wrestling, we exchanged Christmas cards every year.. Greg was always upbeat and enthusiastic and very generous with his time to strangers. He stayed in great shape, working out all the time. We last talked shortly after Donna passed away and he shared an incredibly intimate story that I will always cherish. I say with all sincerity -- Greg Strobel was as nice and as thoughtful a person as he was a great wrestler. What a tremendous loss for the entire wrestling community. -- Mike Chapman
  14. Many years ago, I was touring the Jim Thorpe Home in Yale, OK, just a few miles from Stillwater. There was a friendly lady taking admission at the front door and we started talking. She was Grace Thorpe, Jim's daughter. She asked me where I worked and when I said at the USA Wrestling office in Stillwater, she said that her father loved to wrestle in "the backyard", and against anyone, any rules. She smiled and said "he never lost, ever." Also, George Foreman wrestled in a youth club before taking up boxing and Buck Deadrich, 1972 Olympian in Greco-Roman, was his coach. He said George was very good and could have had a bright future in the sport had he not chosen boxing instead.
  15. Lots of good discussion here with solid points being made. Some of you may want to go to You Tube and pull up the name Curran Jacobs. He was captain of the Michigan State team in 2012 and narrowly missed being an All-American that year. For five years, he has trained in catch-as-catch-can wrestling, the style that was popular in the early 1900s by the real pros, and which allows chokes, submissions and pins. Curran is undefeated in catch and has won 4 major catch events, including two Frank Gotch tournaments in Humboldt, Iowa, the first one by pinning a BJJ standout who came from California with the express purpose of beating Curran and showing BJJ is superior to catch. In 2018, weighing about 195, Curran defeated 3 much larger and very tough competitors in the United World Catch Tournament. He has learned how to avoid submissions and is probably the top catch wrestler in America today, though Josh Barnett is certainly in the same category. Curran has trained with both Josh and Dan Severn. He considers Randy Couture his mentor and is also 5-0 in MMA.
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