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JohnnyThompsonnum1

Strongest wrestlers

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depends how u define "strength", your welcome to your definition --

 

in this thread i defined it in baseball as ability to hit the ball the farthest, which the old timers i named could do. Ruth hit a beat up ball too, and Feller & Walter Johnson & Dizzy Dean pitched with same. The modern baseball is "juiced" too, not just some of the players.

 

in golf, no one on tour hit as far as Jack Nicklaus in his day, thats how i define strength-- now with game-changing improvement in balls and clubs others hit it that far. Many other sports have similar examples.

 

Using pitchers and golfers as a means to justify absolute strength of previous generations is like using Liberace as an example manliness.

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depends how u define "strength", your welcome to your definition --

 

in this thread i defined it in baseball as ability to hit the ball the farthest, which the old timers i named could do. Ruth hit a beat up ball too, and Feller & Walter Johnson & Dizzy Dean pitched with same. The modern baseball is "juiced" too, not just some of the players.

 

in golf, no one on tour hit as far as Jack Nicklaus in his day, thats how i define strength-- now with game-changing improvement in balls and clubs others hit it that far. Many other sports have similar examples.

 

Using pitchers and golfers as a means to justify absolute strength of previous generations is like using Liberace as an example manliness.

So...only your opinion is acceptable? A differing one gets belittled with jr high innuendo?

Got it.

I'll treat your future opinions/declarations with the appropriate "respect".

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TheOhioState, no mention of weight class in my statement? Of course not. That's implied. Sure, Paul Anderson, a 330-360 lber (who got even heavier at his peak) will outlift a 120 lber any day of the week no matter what modern advantages can provide. Let's not be silly. I don't even know of any wrestling heavyweights today who weigh as much as Anderson since there are none. The real test, of course, is to use bodyweight multiples or some other way to determine "pound for pound" strength.

 

I don't know much about Anderson's record accomplishments, so I did a little research and found that he weighed between 330-360 lbs in competition and was nearly 5'10" (so, he was a significantly bigger man than you claim at 275 or whatever you said). This referenced Wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ander ... ightlifter) - shows Anderson's only authenticated powerlift to be a 930 lb squat, or an approximately 2.6-2.8x bodyweight squat. That's certainly a good lift, but nowhere near world-class in today's era. I wasn't anywhere near the strongest guy on my team and I could do 2.5x my weight class for reps in-season. I am not sure of this, but remember seeing Penn All-American Yoshi Nakamura squat about 3x his weight class for reps. Who knows what his 1 rep max would've been. I have no idea what his bench or deadlifts were, but with a squat like that, you don't need very impressive lifts to get to a roughly 7x bodyweight powelift, which is what Anderson's best lifts were IF, big fat IF, you give him credit for his self-reported best powerlifts performed in practice (per Wikipedia, 1200 squat, 627 bench, 820 deadlift). Again, I was far from the strongest guy on my team and I could easily do 5.5x my weight class and 6x offseason.

 

Other than Yoshi, other impressive lifts I remember seeing in the weight room were Penn State 118 lb National Champ Jeff Prescott and his backup John Bove, who wrestled 114.5 in freestyle. I saw Prescott bench 275 and Bove do 225 for 3 reps. There was a 133 lber for Cornell named Roland Kays whom I saw bench 325 for one rep once. All these guys had wide but competition-legal grips. With that kind of bench, it doesn't take a great squat or deadlift to get to 7x bodyweight total, though who knows, maybe their legs were weaker than their arms (doubtful). If I sat here and thought about it some more, I'm sure I could come up with more examples of similarly strong wrestlers who weren't even powerlifting specialists and didn't train for those lifts sports-specifically.

 

Anyway, that interesting digression aside, Paul Anderson is a weightlifting icon from that era. Hodge was one of the best wrestlers ever, but apparently did not do any weightlifting-specific training. Two different guys, two very different situations. It is very hard for me to believe that someone who did not devote a meaningful amount of time in the weight room is as physically strong as today's strongest wrestlers. I'll give Hodge the monster grip award - no debate there. But in terms of overall physical strength - not "wrestling strength in the third period", "cradling or crossfacing strength", or some other subjective measure of strenght - it's hard for me to give Hodge serious consideration if he never lifted seriously.

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depends how u define "strength", your welcome to your definition --

 

in this thread i defined it in baseball as ability to hit the ball the farthest, which the old timers i named could do. Ruth hit a beat up ball too, and Feller & Walter Johnson & Dizzy Dean pitched with same. The modern baseball is "juiced" too, not just some of the players.

 

in golf, no one on tour hit as far as Jack Nicklaus in his day, thats how i define strength-- now with game-changing improvement in balls and clubs others hit it that far. Many other sports have similar examples.

 

 

 

Using pitchers and golfers as a means to justify absolute strength of previous generations is like using Liberace as an example manliness.

So...only your opinion is acceptable? A differing one gets belittled with jr high innuendo?

Got it.

I'll treat your future opinions/declarations with the appropriate "respect".

 

No kid in jr high knows who Liberace was. This isnt a discussion being reviewed by a panel of PhD's. I can throw a joke in whenever I want. You dont see a weakness in the argument that Hodge was the strongest wrestler of all time because Jack Nicklaus hit a golf ball farther than his contemporaries in the 1960's?

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strength has little to do with hitting a golf ball equipment advances do however. Something with a mechanical aspect face of a golf club reflexing, golf ball cores depressing is a poor example when comparing body strength. I get the previous posters point "in comparison relative strength for an era" if you are 25% stronger than everyone else on the same playing field that still does not equate too absolute strength however. The world record bench press in 1920 may have been 400lbs and the average competitve lifters max was 200 making you 100% stronger than the average. Today the world record may be 800 and the average is 600lbs making you 33% stronger than the average. Some would argue that the lifter from 1920 was stronger because he was so far ahead of the competition but when it boils down to fact 800 will always be more than 400.

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Just curious then, what are farm type lifts one could have there kids do in the weight room today to simulate farm work?

 

power clean, deadlift, clean and press, any various type of core rotation, "farmers walk with dbs" and many more.

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I don't think olddirty is being disrespectful or insulting at all. He's raising a fair point asking if some the strength stories are mere myths, much like some of the favorite myths associated with Gable in the mat room. I further think he's expressing an intelligent and logical opinion and he's being grilled for it.

 

Olddirty you must have been somewhat prepared for this onslaught when you challenge a wrestling icon asking for empirical evidence to support some legends.

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TheOhioState, no mention of weight class in my statement? Of course not. That's implied. Sure, Paul Anderson, a 330-360 lber (who got even heavier at his peak) will outlift a 120 lber any day of the week no matter what modern advantages can provide. Let's not be silly. I don't even know of any wrestling heavyweights today who weigh as much as Anderson since there are none. The real test, of course, is to use bodyweight multiples or some other way to determine "pound for pound" strength.

 

I don't know much about Anderson's record accomplishments, so I did a little research and found that he weighed between 330-360 lbs in competition and was nearly 5'10" (so, he was a significantly bigger man than you claim at 275 or whatever you said). This referenced Wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ander ... ightlifter) - shows Anderson's only authenticated powerlift to be a 930 lb squat, or an approximately 2.6-2.8x bodyweight squat. That's certainly a good lift, but nowhere near world-class in today's era. I wasn't anywhere near the strongest guy on my team and I could do 2.5x my weight class for reps in-season. I am not sure of this, but remember seeing Penn All-American Yoshi Nakamura squat about 3x his weight class for reps. Who knows what his 1 rep max would've been. I have no idea what his bench or deadlifts were, but with a squat like that, you don't need very impressive lifts to get to a roughly 7x bodyweight powelift, which is what Anderson's best lifts were IF, big fat IF, you give him credit for his self-reported best powerlifts performed in practice (per Wikipedia, 1200 squat, 627 bench, 820 deadlift). Again, I was far from the strongest guy on my team and I could easily do 5.5x my weight class and 6x offseason.

 

Other than Yoshi, other impressive lifts I remember seeing in the weight room were Penn State 118 lb National Champ Jeff Prescott and his backup John Bove, who wrestled 114.5 in freestyle. I saw Prescott bench 275 and Bove do 225 for 3 reps. There was a 133 lber for Cornell named Roland Kays whom I saw bench 325 for one rep once. All these guys had wide but competition-legal grips. With that kind of bench, it doesn't take a great squat or deadlift to get to 7x bodyweight total, though who knows, maybe their legs were weaker than their arms (doubtful). If I sat here and thought about it some more, I'm sure I could come up with more examples of similarly strong wrestlers who weren't even powerlifting specialists and didn't train for those lifts sports-specifically.

 

Anyway, that interesting digression aside, Paul Anderson is a weightlifting icon from that era. Hodge was one of the best wrestlers ever, but apparently did not do any weightlifting-specific training. Two different guys, two very different situations. It is very hard for me to believe that someone who did not devote a meaningful amount of time in the weight room is as physically strong as today's strongest wrestlers. I'll give Hodge the monster grip award - no debate there. But in terms of overall physical strength - not "wrestling strength in the third period", "cradling or crossfacing strength", or some other subjective measure of strenght - it's hard for me to give Hodge serious consideration if he never lifted seriously.

 

I love you wikomedians. You probably never even heard of Paul Anderson before I mentioned his name. The bottom line with Anderson is that if he had chosen to take his weight down to 285, he would still demolish every college weight lifter in the country wrestling today. You know nothing of this man, excepting what you read in the past 24 hours.

 

You've mentioned some strong wrestlers from Penn State. Prescott's 275 is nice, but it's hardly national class. The world record for the 114's is currently over 400 lbs. Got to think that there were guys benching in the 300's back in the day that were lighter than him. Same with the other lifts. Look at Bob Peoples, with that 725 back in '49 at 181 lbs. Name your college wrestler near that weight class that can do that weight.

 

Not much real powerlifting in the 1950's, by the way. Fewer guys the size of 118 Jeff Prescott. The sport as we know it today really took off in the early 1970's. Still, there were a ton of strong guys back then that trained with apparatus they designed themselves.

 

The bottom line is that there were men lifting back then that focused entirely on lifting- not wrestlers who lifted weights when they were not wrestling in practice. They were stronger than hell- you've just not heard of them, because other than Anderson, Doug Hepburn, Peoples, and a few others, well-known names in powerlifting didn't emerge until the 1960's and 70's. Hepburn, by the way, weighing 300, benched 580 in the 50's. Bet he'd be over 500 at 285.

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I'd heard of Paul Anderson, just was not familiar with his lifts. Wikomedian. Clever. I feel insulted. Don't do that again, you big bully. Very mature of you. So which of the references in that article on Wikomedia do you think is a joke? Please enlighten us, wise one.

 

The lifts I mentioned were of people I knew with whom I'd lifted. Nothing more. I never said they were world class. In fact, I think I insinuated specifically that they were not, certainly by today's standards. And that was the point, that I could rattle off anecdotally a bunch of guys who could lift as much if not more than Anderson on a bodyweight multiple basis.

 

Anyway, the whole point is that it's tough to believe that Hodge, not a devoted weightlifter, was the strongest wrestler ever and that athletes of today are significantly stronger than athletes of the 1950s.

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The earliest thing I ever read about Paul Anderson was back in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records - as noted previously, he was listed as having raised the greatest weight ever - 6270 lbs in a back lift. They listed him as weighing 364 lbs. Interesting little trip down memory lane.

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Just curious then, what are farm type lifts one could have there kids do in the weight room today to simulate farm work?

 

Oregon State started using unconventional methods, in the off season. You have probably seen the videos of guys flipping a huge tire up and down a football field, Or carrying heavy weights in each hand, while raising and lowering each weight .... Carrying 60+ hay bales work.

 

My bother and I spent our weekends working with dad, on a small Hobby farm, were we had about 40 acres of river bottom, full of Alders, and rocks.... That was our gym for years.

 

We dug post holes by hand with with a Post Hole Digger, Pitch forked "tons" of cow manure out of barns into Manure spreaders, hand split firewood from the acres of river bottom that Dad, my brother and I cleared by hand with a chainsaw and an early model (70's era) "Weed Whacker" that weighed about 20#'s.

 

Bucking hay is hard to emulate. How do you duplicate the 90+ degree temp in a barn's hay loft, while trying to pitch bales 15-20 feet to another person who is trying to stack them? All on an uneven floor (in our case the layer of hay bales underneath us) ... We had Grass hay mostly, and some Alfalfa. Two entirely different animals.

 

It's something that really is hard to duplicate, also because it happened over years and years as we grew up. Chores in the AM and PM took 2+ hours every day. AND every day of the year.

 

A lot of the activities cannot be duplicated .. Such as, holding onto a Halter that has a 2,000# Angus bull at the other end. At times, we would have 2 animals at a time in each hand, when we exercised them.

 

Anything that has to do with grip is easy to duplicate. It's the range of muscles and the "non-standard" way we worked, versus sitting on a weight bench.

 

We could climb the Gym Rope with just our hands as kids, early on.

 

It seemed as though we were always working. Plus, I was the youngest, so I was always trying to keep up, or surpass what my big brother could do.

 

BTW ... Back to Hodge, he worked as a kid (young man) laying bricks if I recall the story correctly. That was the one thing he mentioned with regards to his hand strength.

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Len Kauffman wrestled at Oregon State in the mid 60s for Dale Thomas. We wrestled in the Army together, I have pretty decent forearms, but his were "popeye" type. I asked him how he got them. He said his dad hand a 40-cow dairy and Len and his three brothers milked the cows by hand daily. His pinning percentage in college was 81%, the all time highest.

 

Hodge told me that he would take the entire newspaper page and with just his fingers gradually roll it into a ball inside his fist. He did 10 sheets a day with each hand. He also told me that it was about a 3-mile walk to school, he'd carry a small boulder in each hand and try to hold it out straight from his body when he walked to school.

 

I'll grant there are guys today who could bench press, squat, or deadlift more than Hodge could. But when it comes to sheer curling power it don't think anyone else is in his league. When a world class opponent is trying to hold his base, and you apply a 3/4 nelson and pull him into a pin in the final match at his weight class in the 1956 Olympics that is very serious pulling power, not just grip. The Soviets got the 3/4 nelson declared an inhumane hold after the Olympics, and that is why it is still illegal in freestyle.

 

The ability to lift the most weight doesn't translate into being the strongest wrestler. Skill, endurance, understanding leverage all factor into how strong the opponent feels you are in a match.

 

No one including Cael Sanderson ever dominated opponents physically like Hodge did.

 

Based upon the stories I've heard in my 50+ years in wrestling of only two wrestlers that more than one opponent "laid" down for because of the fear of being physically injured: Danny Hodge and Alexander Kareline. So in my opinion they are the two strongest wrestlers of the modern era. Now how Milo of Croton would fit into this category I can't say, since he was way before my time.

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I saw Paul Anderson drive a 16 penny nail through a 2x4 all the way to the head with his bare hand (he had a leather strap in his palm to prevent obvious injury) This was in my church in 1959; he was traveling around the country as an evangelist in the late 50's. He later ran a Christian camp for boys during 60's-70's

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Sorry, wrestlingnerd. Guess I was being kind of a jerk.

 

We'll have to agree to disagree. Today's collegiate wrestlers are very strong, and it's worthy to debate how they would match up to guys like Hodge and the farm boys like Russ Hellickson and the Peterson brothers.

 

The lifters from the 1950's and before were some strong dudes, too. I have yet to find any bench/squat/deadlift records from that time period that rank guys by body weight, mainly because powerlifting as a sport was almost non-existent at that time.

 

Somebody like Louie Simmons, powerlifting coach/guru, who allowed me to work out in his gym back in the day, would certainly know some old records. Maybe I'll contact him.

 

Here's an interesting link of old time stuff which I found today but haven't had a chance to look at yet (click on the pictures):

 

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/compindex.htm

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I don't think olddirty is being disrespectful or insulting at all. He's raising a fair point asking if some the strength stories are mere myths, much like some of the favorite myths associated with Gable in the mat room. I further think he's expressing an intelligent and logical opinion and he's being grilled for it.

 

Olddirty you must have been somewhat prepared for this onslaught when you challenge a wrestling icon asking for empirical evidence to support some legends.

 

I have a Masters degree in health sciences and really, really get into how people train, so its kind of my thing. Being around athletes all day, everyday, I understand that wrestlers have a mind set that is different from all of the others. One thing that is embedded in that mindset is that wrestlers always cling to the past, even when science and logic slap them in the face. Like many have stated before, our mindset is our one of our biggest strengths and worst enemies. I knew the way I worded my first response would piss people off but thats my style; plus I knew it would get the conversation going.

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Len Kauffman wrestled at Oregon State in the mid 60s for Dale Thomas. We wrestled in the Army together, I have pretty decent forearms, but his were "popeye" type. I asked him how he got them. He said his dad hand a 40-cow dairy and Len and his three brothers milked the cows by hand daily. His pinning percentage in college was 81%, the all time highest.

 

Hodge told me that he would take the entire newspaper page and with just his fingers gradually roll it into a ball inside his fist. He did 10 sheets a day with each hand. He also told me that it was about a 3-mile walk to school, he'd carry a small boulder in each hand and try to hold it out straight from his body when he walked to school.

 

I'll grant there are guys today who could bench press, squat, or deadlift more than Hodge could. But when it comes to sheer curling power it don't think anyone else is in his league. When a world class opponent is trying to hold his base, and you apply a 3/4 nelson and pull him into a pin in the final match at his weight class in the 1956 Olympics that is very serious pulling power, not just grip. The Soviets got the 3/4 nelson declared an inhumane hold after the Olympics, and that is why it is still illegal in freestyle.

 

The ability to lift the most weight doesn't translate into being the strongest wrestler. Skill, endurance, understanding leverage all factor into how strong the opponent feels you are in a match.

 

No one including Cael Sanderson ever dominated opponents physically like Hodge did.

 

Based upon the stories I've heard in my 50+ years in wrestling of only two wrestlers that more than one opponent "laid" down for because of the fear of being physically injured: Danny Hodge and Alexander Kareline. So in my opinion they are the two strongest wrestlers of the modern era. Now how Milo of Croton would fit into this category I can't say, since he was way before my time.

 

 

Very good stuff. Could you please let us know....when did you wrestle in the Army with Kauffman ? Who else was with your Army wrestling (team?) experience ? I love this stuff.

 

Thanks in advance. You are the best.

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This is off the subject topic, but I am replying to Denny’s question.

 

I got reassigned to Ft. Wolters, Texas (now closed) located about 40 miles west of Ft. Worth. It was the Primary Helicopter Flight School for the U.S. Army. I got shot in RVN in March 1968 and had my right arm in a cast for 6 months and a sling for 2 more months. I couldn’t fly so I was given the choice of being a TAC Officer (think drill sergeant type duties) or to be an academic instructor. I chose being an instructor, and was assigned to the Leadership Branch. Later I was made the scheduling officer for the branch of 15 instructors.

 

One of the other officers in the branch had been the wrestling coach for the post team. He was getting transferred and suggested I become the head coach since I’d wrestled in high school. I wasn’t good in high school because I was physically immature, but I did have a good coach Bob Williams who wrestled at Oklahoma A&M for Ed Gallagher. Coach Williams took 3rd his senior year behind some guy from Indiana who won his 2nd NCAA title, and Henry Wittenberg later a Gold and Silver medalist for the USA at the Olympics. He was one of the first wrestlers in the US to be serious about weightlifting as a part of his training for wrestling. Coach Williams took us to the 1962 NCAA finals in Gallagher Hall, so I got to see first hand what really good collegiate wrestlers looked like.

 

We had student officer classes as well as warrant officer candidate classes in the 1-month preflight program of flight school. I figured some of the student officers might have wrestled in college. So as the scheduling officer I made sure I got each section of each class of student officers for at least one hour. Before I’d start the class I would explain that I was also the post wrestling coach, and asked if any of them had wrestled in college. One day a foreign student held up his hand, and said he didn’t wrestle in college, but did wrestle for Turkey in the 1960 Olympics in Greco-Roman at 136.5, he said he took 5th. So Rafik Turna came out for the team, he could wrestle in dual meets, but not the army tournaments. The generals like to boast about how well their base teams perform. Ft. Wolters fielded a team of foreign students for soccer and won easily, hence no more foreign students in tournament competition.

 

First day of practice I take the down position, hit a standup and Rafik throws me on the back of my head. I said that is a slam, he informed me that it was a Salto. I’d never seen a freestyle or Greco-Roman match in my life. He quickly taught me the arm throws, gut wrench (the high arching type where you didn’t roll across your shoulders as they do today). We wrestled Ft. Sill in a dual meet, I told him they wouldn’t have anyone who could hang with him. He it’s a 5-point arm throw in the first period, and wins 5-3. I realized the other wrestler was a lot better than expected. The Ft. Still coach came over to me after the dual and asked who my 136.5 pounder was. I said whose yours he said he was 2nd in the college division 2 years ago. I told him my ringer beat your ringer, then I told him who Rafik was. Rafik moved onto Ft. Rucker for the advanced portion of flight training.

 

I would get guys who washed out of flight school out for the team, but within a month they’d get reassigned, so it was a constant changing of who was in the room.

 

One day special services calls me as telling me Leonard Kauffman wanted to come out for the team. I knew who he was they didn’t. I had read that Len had taken 4th at the 1966 world championships. I called him up and said don’t you want to coach the team you are a lot better than I am. He said no I just want to wrestle, so I said okay I guess I’ll go up a weight class and carry your bag to the meets. We were both about 185 at that time, I was 23 Len was 25.

 

First day I worked out with him, Len gets into an exaggerated staggered stance, the kind Rick Sanders used (both were from Oregon as was Fred Fozzard, some great freestylers in that era). I take a shot with a conventional single leg, and I am almost immediately stacked and pinned. So I get up and do the same shot again, same result. I told Len, I know you are good, but you aren’t that good what did you do. So he showed me his quarter nelson. He put his quarter nelson on the inside arm, not the outside are which he trapped with his leg.

 

So everyday I go back an figure out something different to try, each day without success. Finally one day I took a shot at his ankle and scored a takedown and stopped. Len asked me why I stopped. I said I’m in shock I never got this far before. So I gradually got better because of the things that Rafik and Len had taught me. One day Len said if you can get your arm fixed you are good enough to wrestle in college. I went to the orhopeadic specialists to see what it would take. My radius and ulner bones are fused about 2 inches below the elbow, so I have no radial wrist motion, and lack 10 degrees of extension of the right arm. They informed me they would have to cut out 2-inches of my right radius, and it would be a 2-year process and several surgeries putting in smaller pieces of metal to hold the bones together. I decided at that point I’d learn how to be a coach, since my college education was going to be paid for through vocational rehabilitation.

 

Len won the 4th Army tournament at Ft. Hood in 1969, he might have spent 2 minutes on the mat. Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston, Ft. Pollk, Ft. Sill, Ft. Bliss and Ft. Wolters made up the tournament. Ft. Wolters had maybe 4,000 ilitary personnel, while these other bases had 3,000-40,000. Len took 1st at 180.5 I took 3rd at 198. He lost in the all-service tournament to George Radman from Michigan State, but won the AAU nationals (USWF and USA wrestling weren’t a factor then). Len got the OW beating Chuck Jean, George Radman, and Jason Smith among others. The training camp after the 4th Army tournament made a big difference to him. I helped him get in shape, but they tested his techniques.

 

I asked him about the world championships where he took 4th. The bad mark system was still in use then. He said he and an Iranian tied in their last match. So they went to the criteria to see who would get the bronze medal. They tied on the first 10 criteria, the 11th and final criteria was step on the scale. The Iranian weighed less and got the bronze medal, now they give two and don’t even wrestle for it.

 

Tommy Evans was the head official at the 4th Army tournament. I told him that I wanted to fly in the national guard and get my degree. He said come see me I’m the company commander in Norman, Oklahoma. He was also the head wrestling coach at OU. I took him up on his offer, and after a couple of months of working out with his team, he said you are better than I thought you were, how would like to be an assistant coach. So I became one, he retired at the end of the season. He asked me to fly with him whenever I was going to fly in the evenings. He said all the pilots want to talk wrestling, you are the only one who understands it. So 24 times a year for 2 hours for the next two years we’d fly and talk about wrestling. I owe everything I’ve done in wrestling to Len Kauffman and Tommy Evans, if it hadn’t been for them, I’d never have worked for Port Robertson, or been an assistant to Stan Abel. For the past 40 years wherever I’ve lived or worked I’ve been a volunteer coach at the local college, high school, middle, school, or started a youth wrestling program. I’ve been trying to “pay if forward”, it has been a labor of love.

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