Bruce Baumgartner

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Bruce Baumgartner
Medal record
Men's wrestling
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1984 Los Angeles Freestyle (130 kg)
Gold 1992 Barcelona Freestyle (130 kg)
Silver 1988 Seoul Freestyle (130 kg)
Bronze 1996 Atlanta Freestyle (130 kg)
World Championships
Gold 1986 Budapest 130 kg
Gold 1993 Toronto 130 kg
Gold 1995 Atlanta 130 kg
Silver 1989 Martigny 130 kg
Silver 1990 Tokyo 130 kg
Silver 1994 Istanbul 130 kg
Bronze 1983 Kiev +100 kg
Bronze 1985 Budapest 130 kg
Bronze 1987 Clermont-Ferrand 130 kg
Pan American Games
Gold 1987 Indianapolis Freestyle (130 kg)
Gold 1991 Havana Freestyle (130 kg)
Gold 1995 Mar de Plata Freestyle (130 kg)
Silver 1983 Caracas Freestyle (130 kg)

Bruce Robert Baumgartner (born November 2, 1960) is a retired American amateur wrestler and current Director of Athletics for the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania near Erie, Pennsylvania.

Life and career[edit]

Baumgartner was born in Haledon, New Jersey. He is one of the most decorated American wrestlers of all time, winning 4 Olympic Medals (2-Gold, 1-Silver, 1-Bronze), 9 World Championship Medals (3-Gold, 3-Silver, 3-Bronze) and 4 Pan-American Medals (3-Gold, 1-Silver,); he has also won 12 World Cup Medals (7-Gold, 5-Silver), an NCAA title (and 2 Runner-Up finishes), 4 Olympic Festival titles, 2 AAU National titles and a Junior National title.

During high school, Baumgartner excelled on the wrestling team, going 23-0, but was defeated in the NJ State Championship match. During the off-season he threw shot put and discus on the track team, setting several records in the shot put. Baumgartner is a four-time Olympian and owns four Olympic Medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze. He holds a Bachelor's degree in education from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN where he competed collegiately for 4 years. He frequently worked out alongside Kurt Thomas, the Olympic Gymnast. During his collegiate career he finished runner-up at Nationals his sophomore and junior years, and was the 1982 National Champion his senior year completing an undefeated season of 44-0. His collegiate record was 134-12 with 73 falls. In 1995, he was presented the James E. Sullivan Award by the Amateur Athletic Union as the outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S. He was sponsored through the New York Athletic Club. Baumgartner attended Manchester Regional High School in Haledon, New Jersey.[1]

Baumgartner ranked as one of the top super-heavyweight freestyle wrestlers for more than a decade. Winning his first World Championship medal, a bronze, in 1983; he won the World Championship in Los Angeles. He confirmed his status with the Communist Bloc (Eastern European) wrestlers by winning in 1986, clinching his first of his three world titles.

In his second Olympic final in Seoul, he took silver, behind Georgian Davit Gobejishvili. Four years later, in 1992, he won the rematch in Barcelona, en route to a second Olympic gold. After winning world titles in 1993 and 1995, Baumgartner was favored to win his third gold in Atlanta, but a loss to Russian Andrey Shumilin left him with a bronze medal.


In addition to his World (3) and Olympic titles (2), Baumgartner amassed three golds at the Pan American Games, 17 American titles and eight World Cup wins. An NCAA National Championship, 2, NCAA Runner-Up finishes, 2 AAU National Titles and a Junior National title.

In 1998, Baumgartner was inducted into the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame; in 2003, the Missouri Valley Conference named him an 'Institutional Great' and inducted him into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame. In 2008, Baumgartner was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002 and the International Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame (FILA) in 2003.


  1. ^ Bruce Baumgartner profile, The Washington Post, accessed April 26, 2007.

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Francie Larrieu-Smith
Flagbearer for  United States
Atlanta 1996
Succeeded by
Cliff Meidl
Preceded by
Par J. Arvidsson
Rowdy Gaines
Oliver Luck
Kenneth W. Sims
Lynette Woodard
NCAA Top Five Award
Class of 1983
Bruce Baumgartner
John Elway
Richard J. Giusto
Charles F. Kiraly
David R. Rimington
Succeeded by
John E. Frank
Beth Heiden
Terrell L. Hoage
Stefan G. Humphries
Steve Young