Mike Chapman was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. He retired from a 35-year newspaper career in 2002 to run the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum (I.W.I.M.). He and his wife, Bev, created I.W.I.M. in order to preserve a unique part of world cultural history.
Mike is the author of 19 books, 13 on wrestling. His latest books are “The Life and Legacy of Frank Gotch,” “Achilles: Son of Peleus, Scourge of Troy”, a historical novel about the Trojan War and “Legends of the Mat.”
In 1993, Mike created WIN magazine, the nation’s No. 1 wrestling newspaper. He has since sold it but is still a columnist for the paper. He also created the WIN Memorabilia Show, and the Dan Hodge Trophy, given each year to the top collegiate wrestler in the nation. The Hodge Trophy has been called “the Heisman Trophy of wrestling.”
As a journalist, Mike has met such people as Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford and Lou Ferrigno (who played “The Incredible Hulk” on TV). As a sports writer he has attended 35 NCAA Wrestling Championships, two Olympic Games and four world heavyweight boxing championship fights.
Mike has been featured on a number of national TV programs – including ESPN’s “Sports Century,” Fox and Friends, Iowa Public Television, Wisconsin Public Television and the A&E Network. He has been featured in dozens of national magazines and newspapers and has been the guest on over a hundred radio talk shows.
He was on 26 national radio shows the week after Ronald Reagan died in 2004, talking about his historical novel, Lowell Park , which centers around Mr. Reagan’s last year as a lifeguard in Lowell Park, in 1932. The novel is expected to become a major motion picture in 2007.
Mike has won many awards in journalism. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 by the Cauliflower Alley Club. It is an organization of former boxers, wrestlers and movie actors. He is a member of four halls of fame, including the AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
As an athlete, Mike participated in wrestling, judo and sombo, as well as bench press contests. He once bench pressed 440 pounds at a bodyweight of 205.
Mike has given speeches on wrestling history to numerous groups for decades.
At the 2007 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions Chapman was presented with the Jim Melby Award for outstanding work in journalism.