Rick Sanders (wrestler)

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Rick Sanders
Weight 52 kg
Born January 20, 1945
Lakeview, Oregon
Died October 18, 1972(1972-10-18) (aged 27)
Skopje, Yugoslavia
High school Lincoln High School
State championships 3 (Oregon)
College Portland State University
NCAA championships 5 (4 individual, 1 team)
Olympic team United States
Olympic medal Silver
Rick Sanders
Medal record
Men's freestyle wrestling
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver 1968 Mexico City Flyweight
Bronze 1972 Munich Bantamweight
Wrestling World Championships
Gold 1969 Argentina Flyweight
Silver 1967 New Delhi Flyweight
Bronze 1966 Toledo Flyweight
Pan American Games
Gold 1967 Winnipeg Bantamweight

Richard ("Rick") Sanders (January 20, 1945 – October 18, 1972) was an Olympic wrestler from the United States. He won a silver medal in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, the flyweight division, and a bronze medal in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in Germany in the bantamweight division.[1] Both medals were won in freestyle wrestling. After the Munich Olympics, while traveling to Greece, he was killed in an automobile accident on October 18, 1972 in Skopje, Yugoslavia.[2]

Wrestling[edit]

High school[edit]

Rick Sanders attended Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. While there he wrestled at 98 pounds in 1961, 108 pounds in 1962 and 115 pounds in 1963. He won three Oregon State Championships, finishing with a high school record of 80-1.[3]

University[edit]

When Sanders arrived at Portland State University, he quickly led his team to national prominence. As a freshman he highlighted an undefeated season by winning the 1965 NAIA National Championships at 115 pounds and earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award. As a sophomore Sanders lost the first match of his career when he moved up to the 123 pound class and placed third in the NCAA College Division Nationals. Two weeks later he dropped down to the 115 pound class and won the 1966 NCAA University Division National Championship. As a junior Sanders had a perfect season going undefeated and winning both the 1967 NCAA College and University Division National Championships at 115 pounds. He was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler in both meets. As a senior Sanders moved up to the 123 pound class and went undefeated during the regular season. He won his second NCAA College Division National Championship and was again selected as the Outstanding Wrestler. Two weeks later at the NCAA University Division Nationals, Sanders lost for only the second time in his collegiate career when he placed second. His total collegiate record was 103-2. He led his Portland State team to a first place finish in the 1967 NCAA College Division Nationals, a second place finish in 1968, and a third place finish in 1967. The same three years Portland State also finished fifth, sixth, and eighth in the NCAA University Division Nationals. Sanders is the only collegiate wrestler to win National Championships in the NAIA, NCAA College Division, and the NCAA University Division, and be designated an Outstanding Wrestler in each.[4]

U.S. Team and Olympics[edit]

As early as his freshman year in college, in 1965, Sanders won his first of five national freestyle championships and made the U.S. World Team. In 1966 he placed third in the World Championships, in 1967 he placed second in the World, and won the Pan American Games. In 1968, Sanders won an Olympic Silver Medal for the U.S.A. A year later, at 114.5 pounds, Sanders became the first American ever to win a World Championship.[5] He returned to the Olympics in 1972 and captured a Bronze Medal. Of the eleven bouts he won in two Olympics, nine came by fall.[clarification needed]

Death[edit]

Following the Olympic Games in Munich, Sanders began touring Europe. While hitch-hiking to Greece, he was killed in an automobile accident on October 18, 1972 in Skopje, Yugoslavia when the Land Rover he was riding in crashed head-on into a bus.[6] He is buried in Forrester Cemetery, Eagle Creek, Oregon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "[1]"
  2. ^ "Oregon Olympic wrestler dies". The Bulletin (Bend). 20 October 1972. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.oregonsportshall.org/rick_sanders.html
  4. ^ GoViks: Richard "Rick" Sanders
  5. ^ http://www.fila-official.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=768&Itemid=100236&lang=en
  6. ^ "Oregon Olympic wrestler dies". The Bulletin (Bend). 20 October 1972. Retrieved 6 July 2012.