Gable to be honored by President

IOWA CITY — Dan Gable will receive one of the greatest honors in his already-distinguished career.

It was announced on Wednesday that Gable will be presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump.

Gable captured the gold medal in wrestling at the 1972 Summer Olympics and led the University of Iowa wrestling team to 15 national titles.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor the United States bestows. It was established in 1945 by President Truman and renamed in 1963 by President Kennedy.

According to the letter sent from President Trump to Gable, the honor recognizes “extraordinary talents and incomparable individuals who have made exceptional contributions to American national interests, society, or culture, or the cause of world peace.”

Gable is the first athlete or coach from the sport of wrestling to be given this honor. Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Pat Summit and John Wooden have also been honored previously.

“Gable has left me a lifetime philosophy that I do not deviate from,” current Hawkeye head coach wrestling Tom Brands said. “My brother and I are keen on the lessons we learned from him. That will never change. This award is awesome because it puts Dan Gable in context and brings him back front and center.

“Gable was a winner. He did not lose. He won nine straight national championships, as many as John Wooden. The stratosphere that those two guys co-exist in is unheard of, and I am reminded every day when I see his statue. Those memories are strong with me. The bedrock of Hawkeye wrestling will always be Dan Gable, and especially when Tom and Terry Brands are running the program, because we cut our teeth right here.”

During his prep and collegiate careers on the mats, Gable went 181-1, including a 64-0 record during his high school career.

He was 117-1 in his career competing for Iowa State University, winning two NCAA titles and earning three All-American honors.

After college, Gable added titles at the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali Columbia and World Championships in Sofia Bulgaria and in 1972 the Soviet Union’s famed Tbilisi Tournament in Tblisi Georgia. He won an unprecedented six Midlands Open championships and was that meet’s outstanding wrestler five times.

Gable won a gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany without surrendering a single point.

“This honor is earned over a lifetime of doing the right things and persevering through tremendous adversity,” Terry Brands said. “Gable earned it by coaching up people as individuals and paying attention to what makes people tick and really caring about moving humanity forward. It is well earned.”

From 1976-1997, Gable went 355-21-5 as head coach of the Hawkeyes. The program crowned 152 All-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions and 12 Olympians during that time including four gold medalist.


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