Overcoming Defeat

Dan Gable is widely considered to be the greatest wrestler in the history of American wrestling. It would be fair to say that Dan Gable is the Michael Jordan of wrestling, or as they often say in his home state of Iowa, "Michael Jordan is the Dan Gable of basketball."

He has won everything there is to win in the sport of wrestling as both a competitor and coach. Yet, the most remarkable story of Dan Gable's career is his lone collegiate defeat. Dan Gable had amassed a perfect record of 181-0 going into the final match of his collegiate career. Having already won 2 National championships, everyone assumed he would easily win his third and finish his career with a perfect 182-0 record. It was not to be. In what is one of the most shocking upsets in the history of the sport, the mighty Dan Gable was defeated for the first time in the final match of his career. Nobody including Dan Gable could believe what had happened, he had tasted defeat for the first time and he was completely crushed. He struggled to come to terms with the defeat, but in the end he used the defeat to make himself better. That is the mark of a champion, overcoming defeat and coming back stronger. Dan Gable rebounded from his loss by winning a World Championship in 1971, and then going on to win an Olympic Gold Medal in 1972 without surrendering a single point to an opponent the entire Olympic games. No one has put on such a dominating Olympic performance since. After retiring from competition Gable furthered his legacy by coaching the University of Iowa to 15 National Championships. All great athletes will face defeat, but how they respond is what defines a champion.

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