Four-time Olympic freestyle wrestling medalist Bruce Baumgartner was presented with the U.S. Olympic Wrestler of the Century award by Globalaxxess.com during the Night of Champions celebration at the Hyatt Regency Reunion Hotel in Dallas, Texas, June 23.
Baumgartner is the most decorated wrestler in U.S. history. He claimed two Olympic gold medals at the super heavyweight division, winning titles at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif. and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. He added a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. Baumgartner is the only wrestler from any nation to win four Olympic medals in his career.
He received the ultimate honor from his peers when he was selected by the U.S. Olympic athletes to carry the American flag in the Opening Ceremonies at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He is the only wrestler so honored.
Baumgartner's international wrestling career is legendary. He won an international record 13 World or Olympic medals during his career. Included were three World Championship gold medals (1986, 1993, 1995). He also claimed every other major international title in the sport, including the World Cup, the Goodwill Games, the Pan American Games, the World Grand Championships and the University World Games.
Baumgartner is currently the athletic director at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that assignment, he worked as the head wrestling coach at Edinboro. He was a NCAA champion for Indiana State, and is originally from Haledon, N.J. Baumgartner serves as the president of USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States.
He was among the past Olympic medalists who were honored during the Night of Champions, which is being held as part of Wrestling Week in Dallas, which includes the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling at Reunion Arena, June 22-24.
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