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Distinguished Member - MELVIN L. DOUGLAS III, Mesa, Ariz.



Melvin L. Douglas, III, had one of the longest and most distinguished wrestling careers in American history.

Although he didn’t start wrestling until he was 13 years old, Douglas won three individual state championships for Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kan., (1979, 1980, and 1981) along with a Junior National freestyle title in 1981.

Hall of Fame coach Stan Abel recruited him to wrestle at the University of Oklahoma, where he became one of the best wrestlers in program history. Douglas compiled a 109-19-4 record, capping his collegiate career with Big Eight Conference and NCAA 177-pound titles in each of his last two years. He was also part of two of Oklahoma’s most successful teams, helping the Sooners earn Big Eight titles and NCAA runner-up finishes in both 1985 and 1986.

His greatest success, however, came at the international level. Douglas excelled in freestyle wrestling and was a prominent force on the world stage for over 15 years. Domestically, he won eight U.S. National titles and was a member of 11 USA National teams. Internationally, he made six World teams and two Olympic teams.

In 1989, after becoming one of a handful of Americans ever to win the Tbilisi tournament, Douglas placed second at the World Championships at 180.5 pounds. Four years later he reached the pinnacle of the sport at the World Championships in Toronto, Canada, winning the gold. He followed up that success with bronze medals in 1994 and 1995.

The former Sooner superstar qualified for his first Olympic team in 1996 and placed seventh. In 2000, at the age of 37, he again represented his country in the Olympic Games. Douglas wrestled in his final competition at the age of 40 when he entered the 2004 Olympic Trials.

In recognition of a long successful career at the highest level of collegiate and international competition, Melvin L. Douglas, III, is enshrined as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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