Dan Gable: West High Legend


Tyler Hall

Dan Gable during his reception before being honored during the Metro Wrestling tournament.

Tyler Hall, Reporter

On Monday night, November 28th, Dan Gable, a former West High graduate and Olympic gold medalist, came to visit West High for the Metro Wrestling Tournament. Gable went on to be one of, if not the only wrestler to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest ranking award a civilian can receive. While discussing his thoughts on the Medal of Freedom, Gable said “I knew it was big but I didn’t realize it was the highest honor a civilian can get and once I realized that, I really jumped on it. I really liked it but you know, I would have accepted it at a much lower rate.”

Between his high school and college wrestling careers, Gable held a record of 182-1 meaning that out of 183 total matches, he only lost once. That one loss came when he was a senior at Iowa State University during the 1970 NCAA Finals when he was pinned against Larry Owings, a sophomore at the University of Washington. Beyond that, Gable also went on to win a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics making him the first American wrestler to take home the gold in twelve years.

Gable was a West High graduate and, when asked how it felt to be back after all this time, he said “It feels really good actually. I don’t think I come back here enough. I used to come here every day for three years, I lived across the street actually. I used to have a key to the school. They actually wouldn’t give it to me now but it’s a little bit different time.” He then went on to say “I definitely am honored to have them honor me with a presentation and a statue they have here and what they’re gonna put up alongside that statue.”

Gable made a big impact on the sport of wrestling during his career as a wrestler and coach but, in his opinion, it was not big enough. “I never really think about it that way. All I know is I’m apparently not making a big enough impact because I want our sport to be bigger. That means I still got a lot of work to do yet.”

The Dan Gable Hall of Fame outside of the West High gym. (Tyler Hall)
Dan Gable being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former president Donald J. Trump. (Tyler Hall)