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BigApple

My Ringer Beat Your Ringer

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I was the wrestling coach of the Ft. Wolters, Texas (about 40 miles west of Ft. Worth) base team. Ft. Wolters at that time was the primary helicopter flight school for the US Army. In addition there were many foreign students. I taught in the Leadership Branch, which also got the officer classes for pre-flight. My high school coach had been an AA for Ed Gallagher at Oklahoma A&M, so I'd had some pretty decent coaching in high school.

 

I figured some of the students in the officer classes might have wrestled in college. I was the scheduling officer for 15 officers. So I made sure that I got a different section each day. I'd ask them if any of them had wrestled in college. Finally one day a student held up his hand, he said he hadn't wrestled in college, but had wrestled for Greco-Roman for Turkey in the 1960 Olympics and placed 5th. Rafik Turna was his name, and he was at 136.5 in 1960 and could still make in 1968 even though he smoked and drank.

 

First day of practice I'm in the down position I stand up and the next thing I know I am flying through the air straight to my back. I said that is a slam! Rafik replied no it was a Salto. So every day I got an education in Greco Roman wrestling from Rafik, how to do arm throws, spins, jap whizzers, and gut wrenches.

 

We could use foreign students in dual meets, but not the tournaments for the Army teams (Ft. Wolters which had about 4,000 stationed there, took a team of foreign students as their soccer team and won the 4th Army tournament easily. After that the generals said no more foreign students!).

 

I convinced Rafik that as good as he was, there was no way the Ft. Sill team would have anyone as good as he was. So he agreed. Goes out in the first period and hits a 5-point arm throw. Then he stalls the rest of the match and wins 5-3. I realized the wrestler from Ft. Sill was pretty good. When the match was over Rafik, said you lied, he was pretty tough. When the meet was over the coach for Ft. Sill comes over and asks me who my 136.5-pounder was? I said who was yours? He said mine was 2nd in D-2 last year. I said mine was 5th in the 1960 Olympics, my ringer beat your ringer!

 

Rafik completed his 5 months at Ft. Wolters and then went to Ft. Rucker. I never saw him again, nor how to get in touch. I still teach some of the stuff he showed me, and tell these two stories.

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I was coaching youth wrestling.  We had a meet for the league championship.  The other coach cheated with his kids at every opportunity, hiding kids, lying about weight classes and then protesting - 'we don't have time to do weigh-ins', etc.  The previous year our teams met for the championship and he won by cheating, so I was ready for him the next year.   

It was going to be a close meet.  He came to me and said, "I have a kid from the Jr Hi who is looking for a bout. He's pretty good, but not great. Okay if we set one up?"  The kid was a ringer and I knew it.  The kid ended up as a PA state place winner in high school.  What the other coach didn't realize that I had brought my own ringer.    So I said, "I have a kid who came along to watch the meet.  He's in Jr Hi and is pretty good, too.  Let's set it up."

My ringer beat his ringer.  We won the dual by 6 points.

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Not to cast any doubt, but I searched some Olympic results and couldn't find anyone named Rafik Turna who competed in the Olympics.  This guy may have been a very good wrestler, but from looking at some results it doesn't appear that he competed in the Olympics for Turkey.  Turkey entered Yasar Yilmez at the 2nd lowest weight who was a 3x world silver medalist, Muzahar Sille the next weight up won the gold in 1960, and the next weight up was Adil Gundor who had no other notable results.  

Edited by TripNSweep

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On 5/7/2020 at 11:10 PM, TripNSweep said:

Not to cast any doubt, but I searched some Olympic results and couldn't find anyone named Rafik Turna who competed in the Olympics.  This guy may have been a very good wrestler, but from looking at some results it doesn't appear that he competed in the Olympics for Turkey.  Turkey entered Yasar Yilmez at the 2nd lowest weight who was a 3x world silver medalist, Muzahar Sille the next weight up won the gold in 1960, and the next weight up was Adil Gundor who had no other notable results.  

Funny thing here. 30 years ago, the world wide web didn't even exist. Back then, when you discussed events from history you either had an encyclopedia or your memory to rely on.

If it was something that wasn't in an encyclopedia, then you just had your memory - which was, and still is, hit or miss for most all of us when it comes to specific details of events happening even 1 year ago, much less 40-50 years ago.

My point - you can diligently fact check the stories of legends and find results that are fuzzy. Or you can just enjoy them. I'd recommend the latter.

 

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4 hours ago, GreatWhiteNorth said:

Funny thing here. 30 years ago, the world wide web didn't even exist. Back then, when you discussed events from history you either had an encyclopedia or your memory to rely on.

If it was something that wasn't in an encyclopedia, then you just had your memory - which was, and still is, hit or miss for most all of us when it comes to specific details of events happening even 1 year ago, much less 40-50 years ago.

My point - you can diligently fact check the stories of legends and find results that are fuzzy. Or you can just enjoy them. I'd recommend the latter.

 

I honestly was just curious to see who he was. My guess is either Warren remembers his name wrong, or he competed at worlds in an off year or something like that.  

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1 hour ago, TripNSweep said:

I honestly was just curious to see who he was. My guess is either Warren remembers his name wrong, or he competed at worlds in an off year or something like that.  

Another possibility is that the guy gave a fake name. I couldn't find that name either but Turna translates to crane (as in lift, hoist) and rafiq to friend.

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11 hours ago, TripNSweep said:

I honestly was just curious to see who he was. My guess is either Warren remembers his name wrong, or he competed at worlds in an off year or something like that.  

Exactly. That's what I was getting at (wasn't trying to accuse you of any wrongdoing.) I have zero videos of any of my college matches. I have zero results or statistics other than wrestling 4 years as a starter to letter, and getting a trophy one year for fastest pin (I don't remember which year.) My coach did videotape some matches, but the purpose was to analyze the match rather than for historical purposes. I had nothing in my dorm room to watch the tape on so I didn't consider getting/dubbing any of the tapes at the time. After my senior season I did think to ask my coach if he had any of the tapes, but he was recording on the same set of tapes over and over so my matches were long gone. I guess there might be some old school newspapers in the library archives I could dig up - but I'm not even sure they even listed my opponents names in the results.

Pre-digital, pre-youtube, pre-web sites - we had to rely on our memories and they certainly don't get better with age! Oh well - this way, we probably remember opurselves as better than we really were and there's no proof that we weren't!

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