Saturday, August 6, 2016

WWE Superstars you didn't know were Olympic athletes

An Olympian
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Angle at the 96 games
Many times people hear professional wrestling and automatically think FAKE and discount the men and women who work hard to train and perform year round. Some Superstars come from very decorated amateur sports backgrounds. We all know Mark Henry, Kurt Angle, Ken Patera and the newly drafted Chad Gable competed in the Olympics. But here are a few more that I (and maybe even you) didn't know were part of the games. By the way, Angle is the gold medalist to have wrestled in WWE.

Allen Coage aka Bad News Brown
Bad News Brown competed in judo in the 1976 games. He represented the USA and won the bronze medal that year. Brown went on to a great career in the squared circle, spending much of his time in Japan and Stampede in Canada. I best remember him in WWF in the late 80s, winning the WrestleMania IV battle royal and feuding with Bret Hart. He had a series of matches against WWF champion Randy Savage and battled Hulk Hogan too. Other big feuds including "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Brown retired in 1999 and died in 2007.  

Danny Hodge
Danny Hodge wrestled at the 1952 Olympics, finishing fifth and four years later won the silver medal. Technically Hodge never competed in WWE, but has been on a couple of episodes of Monday Night Raw in the past. His professional career was over before I started watching wrestling, but from the stories I've heard from others, Hodge was truly a great in the business.

Mad Dog on the Olympic list
Courtesy: WWE
Mad Dog Vachon also wrestled in the Olympics. In 1948 he represented Canada in the games. He won his first round match in less than a minute, but later lost to the eventual bronze medal winner. Vachon went on to become part of the infamous Vachon family in wrestling and is the uncle of Luna Vachon. He  retired a few years after I started watching wrestling, but I remember him being part of the AWA at that time. We were on hand for his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2010. Mad Dog died a few years later at the age of 84.

Doing research for this piece busted a wrestling myth I long believed. The Iron Sheik apparently never competed in the Olympics. Good luck to all our Olympic athletes. Maybe one day we'll see some of the men and women competing right now in the squared circle too.

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