October 20, 1899 - December 20, 1978
He took up wrestling in high school at Portland, Oregon, to escape from mandatory gym classes. Robin Reed quickly learned the fundamentals of the sport, and learned them so well that he never lost a wrestling match ... to anyone ... of any size.
"I needed gymnasium credits to graduate from high school, but I didn't want any gym because I was already getting all the exercise I needed operating an air hammer at the shipyards," he said. "I was only 125 pounds and could barely hold onto that air hammer, so I was getting all the gym I needed." That air hammer may have been the toughest opponent Robin ever wrestled.
While at Oregon State University, he won National AAU championships in 1921, '22 and '24. He established his stature as world champion by winning the gold medal at 134 pounds in the 1924 Olympic Games at Paris, pinning every opponent he faced.
Had the rules permitted, he might well have won a handful of gold medals. In the Pacific Northwest tryouts for the Olympics Reed entered four weight classes, from 145 pounds to 191, and won all four. It is well established that he could pin almost every member of the U.S. Olympic team, including the gold medalists at 191 pounds and heavyweight.
Reed coached a championship team at Corvallis High School while still a student himself at Oregon State. When he returned from the '24 Games, he voluntarily ended his amateur career and was named varsity coach even though he was still attending college. His 1926 team won the National AAU title.
He appeared as a professional wrestler for a decade, then entered the real estate field. In 1936, he built a house on the rugged Oregon coast where he lived the rest of his life.
In recognition of his stature as one of the most dominant athletes the world has ever seen, Robin Reed is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.