November 03, 1881 - July 08, 1948
The first "superstar" of amateur wrestling, George Mehnert was the only United States wrestler in the first 90 years of the 20th Century to win two gold medals in the Olympic Games. He reigned in 1904 at 115 pounds and in 1908 at 119 pounds.
Representing the National Turnverein, a sporting club in Newark, New Jersey, Mehnert first attracted attention in 1900 for his skills in wrestling and basketball. He won the metropolitan amateur wrestling title in 1901 and his first of six National AAU championships in 1902.
Virtually unbeatable over a seven-year span through 1908, he wrestled 59 bouts in national tournaments and lost only one-to fellow Olympic champion George Dole of Yale in the 1907 finals. One of Mehnert's victories during this period was by fall in seven seconds, for many years the fastest on record.
Together with his Newark wrestling partner, Gus Bauers, who was silver medalist in the 1904 Games at St. Louis, Mehnert so dominated competition in the lighter weights that he often couldn't find opponents willing to challenge his skills.
The official report of the British Olympic Association for the 1908 Games in London states: "Mehnert showed form quite above any other man in the whole contest, and undoubtedly was the most scientific, both in attack and defense, of any wrestler taking part in the Games."
Mehnert later was active in the development of amateur wrestling in New Jersey and he served on the Olympic wrestling committee during the 1930s.
As a legendary wrestler and a true champion of the highest order, George Nicholas Mehnert is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.