Today I’ll be answering why wrestling is so popular in Iowa.
This topic is an important one to talk about because a lot of our reps at multiple age levels came out of Iowa.
Of course, I may be a little biased because I wrestled in college for a program out of that state as well.
But without further ado, let’s get into it.
Why is wrestling so popular in Iowa?
It’s one of the most successful Olympic focused sports in the area. Dan Gable is also another big reason why it’s so popular in Iowa. The fans of the sport even dedicate a style of wrestling called Iowa Style to pay homage.
Wrestling is one of the oldest Olympic sports to date.
It started in 1896.
I was having a discussion about what makes an Olympic sport (well, sports as a whole) so popular.
And it was agreed that the ability to perform without expensive equipment makes a difference.
Fortunately for wrestling, it only needed another body to compete against another person.
Every country has a different amount of tools that they can give to their citizens, but when applying it to sports, that also plays a role in how popular it becomes; if their country can fund a program.
Obviously the USA’s one of the more wealthier countries, so any sport we want to compete in, we can.
Wrestling is something that goes back to biblical times, and the concept is pretty simple: maintain better control over your opponent.
With Iowa being left without a major city (compared to other states), and physical labor being a popular form of working, wrestling was perfect.
It allowed a hard worker to excel in a sport and it complimented the core values that the state promoted anyway.
Dan Gable is one of the most popular names ever in wrestling.
Some would say he’s the Michael Jordan of the sport, of course Jordan Burroughs or John Smith might have something to say about it.
But Dan Gable at his prime was one of the most successful wrestlers on the national level and international level.
He was a resident from the city of Waterloo Iowa, and has an incredible story that he had to persevere through.
He has a book that speaks more in his personal life, but on the wrestling scene, he was unreal.
He was a 3 time finalist in the National Championship.
2 time champ.
And had a record of 117-1, with his only loss coming from Larry Owings.
He went on to win the 1971 world championships and followed it up with a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games.
The impressive feat that he accomplished was winning every match without giving up a single point.
He has his own shoe, and even went on to have a legendary coaching career at university of Iowa.
Iowa style is a name that was given to a particular way that people wrestled.
I actually learned about this style of wrestling in high school.
I had a coach who just so happened to have grown up and wrestled in Iowa as well.
When we had periods of time where we wrestled hard (all live goes to be specific), our coach would have us keep this up for 30-45 minutes at a time and call it “Iowa Style.”
That’s actually a credit to the entire state of Iowa to have a reputation for wrestling hard.
I think it came from what the college program was doing, where they were known to break their opponents mentally and physically.
It was a style that was mainly seen from the Iowa Hawkeye program.
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