With the 2012 Olympics getting underway in less than a month, and no end to the long dark offseason in sight, it's time to talk about THE greatest Cyclone Olympian of all time - Dan Gable.
Gable was born in Waterloo, and after going undefeated and winning after 3 straight high school championships at Waterloo West, Gable chose to wrestle for Iowa State. During his famed collegiate career, Gable won 181 straight matches (including 3 conference and 2 NCAA titles) and fell only in the final match of the NCAA tournament during his senior year in 1970.
The loss gave him all the motivation he would need. He embraced the very Iowan ideal that if you simply worked harder than the other person and just absolutely refused to give in, you would emerge victorious. Gable internalized that ideal and spent the next 18 months working his ass off.
And then he went to Munich, and he not only won the gold medal, he did the unthinkable:
HE DID NOT LET ANY OPPOSING WRESTLER SCORE A SINGLE POINT.
Think about that for a second. This young 20-something kid from Waterloo went out and shut out the best wrestlers in the world. Just by absolutely refusing to give up, by refusing to listen to his body screaming as he pushed it to the very limits of human endurance. He may be the only athlete who is actually built more solid than the statue that was erected in his honor.
(He also beat a Russian for the gold in 1972 in Munich of all places. That's about as close to single-handedly ending communism during the cold war as you can get. USA! USA! USA!)
With all due respect to Marion Morrison, the biggest badass ever to inhabit the state of Iowa is, and always will be, Dan Gable.
(And hey, as far as getting Olympics news this year, you could do worse than Yahoo! Sports. Blatant plug incoming:)
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