Dan Gable

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Dan Gable
Dan Gable.jpg
Gable in April 2014
Personal information
Full nameDanny Mack Gable
Born (1948-10-25) October 25, 1948 (age 74)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Alma materIowa State University
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight150 lb (68 kg)

Danny Mack Gable (born October 25, 1948) is an American former folkstyle and freestyle wrestler and coach. Considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Gable is a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, a world gold medalist, and an Olympic gold medalist. Gable was only the third wrestler to have ever been inducted into the United World Wrestling's Hall of Fame in the Legend category.[1][2] On December 8, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump awarded Gable with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[3]

Early life[edit]

Gable grew up in Waterloo, Iowa. When he was 15 years old, a teenager from his neighborhood raped and murdered Gable's 19-year-old sister. Although Gable has called his sister's death his "biggest loss,"[4] he did not allow the tragedy to affect his focus on wrestling. Instead, he thought of it as a reason to train with even more determination:

"The more you can settle into focusing on what you have and what you would like to do and where you want to go — a positive point of view — the quicker things turn around and positive things start to happen."[5]

Wrestling career[edit]


From 1967 to 1970, Gable attended Iowa State University, where he competed in folkstyle wrestling. At Iowa State, he became an NCAA Division I national runner-up and two-time national champion. Gable's college career record was 117–1, with his only loss being in the final match of his final season to Larry Owings of the University of Washington.[6]


From 1971 to 1973, Gable competed internationally in freestyle wrestling. Highlights of his career include gold medals at the 1971 Tbilisi Tournament, the 1971 world championships, and the 1972 Olympic Games. At the 1972 Games, in particular, Gable won all six of his matches without giving up a point.[7] After competing sporadically from 1974 to 1975, Gable retired and became a full-time coach. In 1991, Gable was awarded with the Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award by Cauliflower Alley Club.[8]

Match results[edit]

World Championships & Olympic Games Matches
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event Location
1972 Olympic 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 68 kg
Win 12–0 Soviet Union Ruslan Ashuraliyev 3–0 August 27, 1972 1972 Summer Olympic Games West Germany Munich, West Germany
Win 11–0 Poland Włodzimierz Cieślak Fall
Win 10–0 Japan Kikuo Wada 6–0
Win 9–0 Greece Stefanos Ioannidis Fall
Win 8–0 West Germany Klaus Rost 20–0
Win 7–0 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Safer Sali Fall
1971 UWW world 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 68 kg
Win 6–0 Bulgaria Ismail Yuseinov 8–3 August 27, 1971 1971 World Wrestling Championships Bulgaria Sofia, Bulgaria
Win 5–0 Japan Kikuo Wada Fall
Win 4–0 Czechoslovakia Josef Engel Fall
Win 3–0 Turkey Nihat Kabanli Fall
Win 2–0 Finland Eero Suvilehto Fall
Win 1–0 Soviet Union Vasily Kazakov 5–1

Coaching career[edit]

From 1976 to 1997, Gable was the head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Gable's teams compiled a dual meet record of 355–21–5. He coached 152 all-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including eight medalists. His teams won 21 Big Ten Conference championships, and 15 NCAA Division I titles.[6]

In addition to coaching folkstyle wrestling at the University of Iowa, Gable coached freestyle wrestling. Gable was the head coach of three Olympic teams and six world teams.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

Gable receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump in 2020
  • 1st place, gold medalist(s) Midlands Championships


Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler Gable Steveson was named after him.[10]

Gable has been written about in many magazines and numerous books, including Two Guys Named Dan (1976), From Gotch to Gable: A History of Wrestling in Iowa (1981), The Toughest Men in Sports (1984) and Legends of the Mat (2006), all by wrestling historian Mike Chapman.[11]

He also has a museum named for him in his hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, part of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.

See also[edit]


  • Baughman, Wayne. 1987. Wrestling On & Off the Mat. R. Wayne Baughman. ISBN 978-0-9618446-0-8
  • Chen, Albert. 2014. "Where are they Now: Catching up with Dan Gable and Larry Owings," Sports Illustrated (July 11, 2014)[12]
  • Gable, Dan. 2015. A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-1609383404
  • Hammond, Jairus K. 2005. The History of Collegiate Wrestling. National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. ISBN 978-0-9765064-0-9
  • Moffat, James V. 2007. Wrestlers At The Trials. Exit Zero Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9799051-0-0
  • Smith, Russ L. 1973. The Legend of Dan Gable. Medalist Sports Education Publication.
  • Zavoral, Nolan. 1997. A Season on the Mat. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-3553-9


  1. ^ "Bio : Dan Gable – 15 National Championships. Olympic Champion. World Champion". dangable.com.
  2. ^ "Dan Gable – United World Wrestling". unitedworldwrestling.org.
  3. ^ "Trump honors legendary Iowa wrestler Gable at White House". AP NEWS. December 7, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Dan Gable among speakers discussing victims' rights".
  5. ^ "Himself the victim of a violent tragedy, Gable says loss can result in some good". {{cite web}}: |first= missing |last= (help)
  6. ^ a b c "Bio: Dan Gable – 15 National Championships. Olympic Champion. World Champion". dangable.com.
  7. ^ "Wrestling legend Dan Gable is born". This Day in History. History. Archived from the original on March 31, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "Honorees". Cauliflower Alley Club. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  9. ^ Dan Gable. National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
  10. ^ Schwerdt, Joseph (August 6, 2021). "Named for an icon, Gable Steveson becomes a legend in his own right". NBC Olympics. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  11. ^ "Books and Products by Mike Chapman". mike-chapman.com.
  12. ^ Chen, Albert (July 10, 2014). "Where are they Now: Catching up with Dan Gable and Larry Owings". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 8, 2020.

External links[edit]