Oklahoma State wrestling head coach John Smith has been named one of 15 finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.
A 1988 and 1992 Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist, Smith is the most decorated American wrestler of all time and is just one of three wrestlers from the United States to win two Olympic gold medals, joined by George Mehnert (1904, 1908) and Bruce Baumgartner (1984, 1992).
In addition to his two Olympic gold medals, Smith won four World titles, stringing them all in a row. He is the only U.S. wrestler to win six World and Olympic gold medals in successive years. His amazing streak included 1987 World gold, 1988 Olympic gold, 1989 World gold, 1990 World gold, 1991 World gold and 1992 Olympic gold.
After winning two gold medals in as many appearances at the Olympic Games, Smith retired from wrestling to move into the head coaching role at Oklahoma State in 1992. In addition to his great achievements as an athlete, John Smith has also coached the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team in 2000 and 2012.
At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time to go along with numerous other career awards, including being named the Sportsman of the Year in 1990, which was given by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the voting through May 16, which will help determine the Class of 2022 as five of the 15 finalists will be inducted. The Class of 2022 will be announced on Wednesday, June 1, and inducted on Friday, June 24, during a ceremony at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Vote here for John Smith for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame
John Smith has won these honors. Let’s add U.S. Olympic U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame to them:
· Smith was the first wrestler to ever claim the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990.
· Smith was the first American ever chosen as the Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (now UWW) when he received the honor in 1990.
· Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
· Smith won the Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.
· In 1992, Smith was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s World Trophy, becoming the first North American wrestler to earn the honor.
· USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year in 1989
· U.S. Olympic Committee Titan Award in 2004
· A 2003 inductee into the UWW International Wrestling Hall of Fame
· A 1997 distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame
· A 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, That same year, Smith was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Honor.
· And many others.