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Dan Gable inducted into FILA International Hall of Fame during inductions at London Olympics

Dan Gable receives his FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame plaque from FILA President Raphael Martinetti during ceremonies in London, England. Larry Slater photo

LONDON, England – World Champion and Olympic Champion Dan Gable was inducted into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame, which is managed by FILA, the international Olympic governing body for the sport of wrestling.

Ceremonies were held at the Grange St. Paul Hotel on Friday, just two days prior to the start of the wrestling competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

He was a 1972 Olympic champion in men’s freestyle at 68 kg/149.5 lbs., winning his gold medal in Munich, West Germany without allowing a point the entire tournament. He was also a World champion in 1971.

“You know the reputation of this award. It is a highly reputable award. Any time you go into a Hall of Fame it is always good. When you go into one that is at the top of your sport, it is pretty impressive,” said Gable.

Gable was inducted in the Legends Category, which only has two other members, Dr. Cjaba Hegedus from Hungary and Ivan Yarygin from Russia.

“I also have a category I went in called legends. Most everybody went into the Hall of Fame, but I went into a special category. That is really meaningful. I am really honored. Hopefully I can live up to that legend. As an athlete, I did a pretty good job and as a coach I did a pretty good job internationally. Now, is the area that is really important. It’s kind of what have you done for me lately. This is history, but what about let’s make more history. That is what I’d like to do,” said Gable.

Gable also led several U.S. World and Olympic Freestyle Teams from 1980-2000. He was head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team in Los Angeles, Calif. which won seven gold medals and nine total medals. He also coached the 2000 and 1980 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Teams.

Gable coached the University of Iowa wrestling program to 15 NCAA team titles from 1977 through 1997. He is considered the most successful collegiate wrestling coach in the United States.

After the ceremony, many of the other honorees wanted to have their picture with Gable, as well as many in attendance. Russian Wrestling Federation President Michail Mamiashvili, a fellow Olympic champion, went up to speak with Gable and pose with him for photos.

Gable joins six previous FILA Hall of Fame inductees from the United States, including freestyle wrestlers John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner, Kevin Jackson and Lee Kemp, women’s freestyle wrestler Tricia Saunders and Olympic referee Dr. Vince Zuaro.

He arrived today in London with his wife Cathy and his daughter MacKenzie. Gable will attend all eight days of the Olympic wrestling competition, which begins on Sunday.

There was decidedly Canadian presence among the honorees, which included:
• Mario Saletnig, longtime Canadian referee and FILA Vice President, in the Leadership category
• 2000 Olympic champion and 1999 World freestyle Daniel Igali of Canada
• Daniel Robin, who lived and coached in Canada after winning Olympic medals for France.

All three Canadian entries were born in other countries. Saletnig was born in Italy.

Daniel Igali is the first African-born black wrestler to win World and Olympic Freestyle Gold medals for Canada. Igali won a World title in 1999 and an Olympic gold medal at 2000 Sydney Games at 74 kilograms. He was born in Nigeria, where he currently serves as a coach.

Daniel Robin wrestled for France, but has lived and coached in Canada after finishing his competitive wrestling career. Robin won silver medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, the only modern era wrestler to win medals in both styles in the same Olympics.

Other inductees included a women’s freestyle wrestler and a Greco-Roman wrestler.

Gundrun Hoeie of Norway is the women’s freestyle inductee. Hoeie first entered international competition in 1987 and competed in six different weight classifications until her retirement in 2010. During her career she won World titles in 1989, ’90, ’93, and ’98. She also claimed a World Silver in 1991 and bronze in 1999.

Mnatsakaryan Iskanadaryan of Russia claimed world titles in 1990, ’91, and ’94 in Greco-Roman. He captured an Olympic gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games at 74 kilograms. He is currently serving on the Russian Greco-Roman National Coaching Staff.

The final inductee was referee Aldo Albanese of Italy. Albanese has worked for FILA in an official’s capacity since 1970. He serves as the Vice President of the Italian Federation for judo, karate, Mixed Martial Arts and wrestling,
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