Bruce Baumgartner is a four time Olympic medalist in freestyle wrestling, a two time Olympic Champion, a three time world champion and a 1991 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
Baumgartner was born on November 2nd, 1960 in Haledon, New Jersey.
For such a dominant athlete, Baumgartner got a relatively late start in the sport. His first time on the mat didn't come until he was a freshman in high school, by which time most of his peers had been grappling for years. But what he lacked in experience he made up for in size; as a freshman, Baumgartner weighed 190 pounds.
As a freshman at Indiana State University, Baumgartner had his sights set on the Olympics. His senior year, he finished with a 44-0 record and an NCAA championship.
Baumgartner was known to be even more fastidious off the mat than he was on it; he had an extensive library of videos that he studied compulsively. In the words of one of is peers, "Bruce has an unbelievable knowledge of his own strengths and weaknesses…he just refuses to make a mistake."
At 24, Baumgartner won his first Olympic gold medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He followed up his Olympic championship with a silver medal four years later in Seoul, and another gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Baumgartner won his fourth and final Olympic medal, a bronze, in 1996 in Atlanta, making him the first wrestler in Olympic history to medal in four consecutive Games.
In 1996, Baumgartner was defeated by Andrey Shumilin of Russia in the preliminaries, which eliminated him from gold medal contention. However, in a strange twist of fate, the two faced off against one another in the Bronze medal match.
In 1996, at the age of 35, Baumgartner became the oldest recipient of the Sullivan Award; he won the award as the nation's best amateur athlete of 1995.
Baumgartner currently serves as the Director of Athletics for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 1997.