Peter Mehringer

July 15, 1910 - August 27, 1987

He learned about wrestling from a mail-order correspondence course. And Pete Mehringer learned his lessons so well that six years later he won an Olympic gold medal.

As a youngster growing up with six older brothers on a western Kansas farm, Pete subscribed to the "Frank Gotch and Farmer Burns School of Wrestling and Physical Culture." As a high school sophomore, he was appointed the school's wrestling coach, because the football coach wanted nothing to do with that sport. Kinsley High School attended the state tournament in 1928, where its student-coach won his first state title and the team finished fourth. The Depression barred further trips, but as a senior Pete hitch-hiked across the state to win another title.

At the University of Kansas, where he starred in both wrestling and football, he was coached by Leon Bauman, who started him toward three consecutive conference crowns. But when Bauman resigned to enter medical school, Mehringer again found himself in the role of his own coach.

In 1932, he suffered his only collegiate defeat, at the hands of Northwestern heavyweight Jack Riley in the NCAA finals. As they continued to struggle in the Olympic trials, the Olympic coach suggested that Pete drop to 191 pounds so both could be in the lineup at Los Angeles. He responded by shedding 17 pounds in 12 days. After that, the stars of Sweden, Canada and Australia looked easy.

An All-American in football, he played in the first College All-Star game in 1934 and then earned a professional lineman's top salary of $100 per game with the Chicago Cardinals and the Los Angeles Bulldogs. He also was a movie extra and stunt man, appearing as one of Ronald Reagan's teammates in the movie, "Knute Rockne, All-American," and once doubling for Bob Hope in "The Road to Zanzibar."

As an athlete of ultimate achievement and a constant contributor to the well-being of his fellow citizens, Peter Joseph Mehringer is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.


Distinguished Members

All American Awards:

Division I

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