Iowa State wrestling legend Dan Gable receives Presidential Medal of Freedom


Chris Jorgensen/Iowa State Daily

Dan Gable, former Iowa State wrestler, speaks at the Ames Public Library on Oct. 17, 2018. Gable answered questions from the audience before signing copies of his book.

Ellie Bousson

Former Cyclone legend, Dan (Danny) Mack Gable, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dec. 7 at the White House.

Gable has had a tremendous history of accomplishments throughout his years as a collegiate wrestler, Olympian and coach. 

President Donald Trump presented Gable, accompanied by his wife and children, the nation’s highest level of civilian honor. The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have proved exceptional success for their nation. 

Gable was not the athlete that got lucky once in a while, he had consistent, raw talent.

Gable’s wrestling accomplishment began in his hometown of Waterloo, Iowa — finishing his high school wrestling career undefeated, 64-0. Gable then went on to become one of, if not the best, wrestler and athlete at Iowa State University. 

During Gable’s time as a Cyclone, he earned himself two NCAA wrestling championships, national wrestling championships, three Big Eight titles and was a three-time All-American. 

Gable only lost one match during his time at Iowa State, he worked diligently to ensure his technique and strategy was close to perfect. In a light conversation during his ceremony, Gable shared a process to his success, “I wasn’t worried about his moves; I was only worrying about my moves.”

At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Gable represented team USA, defeating every single opponent, giving up not a single point and taking home the gold for his country. 

Gable’s wrestling career did not stop there, he went on to become a phenomenal coach for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.  

As a coach, Gable assisted his teams to 15 NCAA team titles and was named the University of Iowa’s all-time most-winning coach. 

Gable continued to coach and guide athletes to great accomplishments, 45 national champion wrestlers and 12 wrestlers who went on to compete at the Olympics. 

This was the first time the sport of wrestling has ever received this award.