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Wrestling’s Dan Gable: Olympic Gold Medallist as Athlete & Coach

“Michael Jordan of Wrestling” Iowa Legend
This week we welcome a man who for many is a living legend. Wrestling’s Dan Gable, one of the very few people in any sport who have reached the pinnacle both as an athlete and as a coach.

Sports Coach Radio is hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership psychologist. You can follow us on Twitter, where we post useful articles and coaching tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

dan_gabled_h&SDan Gable knows all about perseverance, consistency and mental toughness. He is famous throughout the wrestling world for having lost only one match in his entire Iowa State University career — his last — and then for pulling himself together and winning gold at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and for not giving up a single point during the tournament.

He was head coach at the University of Iowa from 1976 to 1997, a team widely feared for their full frontal aggressiveness and universally admired for winning 16 NCAA titles. He served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic freestyle team in 1980, 1984 and 2000, with the 1984 squad particularly dominant, winning eight of the 11 gold medals available. Coach Gable returned to Iowa as assistant coach in 2006 and currently is assistant athletic director.

A popular expression in Iowa sporting circles is that “Michael Jordan is the Dan Gable of basketball” — except it’s worth noting that Michael Jordan never won a championship as a coach.

Among the many who consider Coach Gable their hero are actor Tom Cruise, novelist John Irving and work and lifestyle guru Timothy Ferriss.

Classic Dan Gable quotes
Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

No one ever drowned in sweat.

Never concede anything.

Some have wrestled without great skill. None have wrestled without great pride.

Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.

If you’re afraid to fail you’ll never succeed.