Dan Gable, 1972 Olympic gold medalist and 15-time NCAA champion coach of the University of Iowa wrestling team, will be presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump, the White House announced in a written letter on Oct. 13.
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 receive the honor. Other coaches and athletes of prominence that have earned the award include Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Pat Summit, and John Wooden.
In the official letter to Gable, he was recognized for his “remarkable accomplishments” on the mat, and an even greater coaching career at the University of Iowa for 21 seasons.
The letter went on to add, “Today, you continue to inspire your fellow citizens as a motivational speaker and serve as a living testament to countless young people that the American Dream is very much within reach of anybody willing to think big, work hard, and never relent.”
During his prep and college Wrestling careers, Dan Gable compiled an unbelievable record of 181-1.
He was undefeated in 64 prep matches, and was 117-1 at Iowa State University.
His only defeat came in the NCAA finals his senior year. Gable was a two time NCAA National Wrestling Champion and three-time all-American and three-time Big Eight champion. He set NCAA records in winning and pin streaks.