National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Dale Lewis

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Dale Lewis was a two-time NCAA champion at heavyweight for Oklahoma University, a two-time Olympian and a successful professional. But Dale took a strange path to greatness.

Born in 1935 and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he played football and basketball in high school but never wrestled. Entering the United States Marines after high school, he discovered wrestling, and learned that he had a natural aptitude for the sport. In 1956, six months after he had started wrestling, Lewis earned a spot in Greco-Roman wrestling on the United States Olympic team that competed in Melbourne, Australia.

After discharge from the Marines, he was offered a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma after earning a spot on the Sooner team. He was NCAA heavyweight champion in both 1960 and 1961, and won the AAU national freestyle title in 1961, defeating most of the top amateur heavyweights in the nation. He made his second Olympic team in 1960.

Professionally, Lewis spent most of his career in Florida and won numerous regional titles, then ventured up to Canada late in his career. He wrestled as a pro for nearly two decades and died of leukemia on August 30, 1997.