Professional wrestling is a genre of athleticism that has deviated far from the Olympic-style of wrestling that it is rooted in.
Dan Gable is without a doubt one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, he is a two-time NCAA Division 1 National Champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and he is in the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 1991, he was awarded with the Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cauliflower Alley Club Most recently, Dan Gable was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by current president WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump.
Speaking with Bill Pritchard of WrestleZone, Gable opened up about receiving the award from the president and his role in the new movie “The Last Champion.”
WrestleZone sent along the following quotes.
On receiving the Medal of Freedom:
“I’ve heard about this award but I never really thought about it more than most people, but all of the sudden, I’m a recipient. The thing that was really great about it was, we’ve got some really great people in our sport and our sport is a great sport, the sport of wrestling, but nobody’s really ever received this award. So, I’m the first one and I think it’ll really open the door for a lot of people in the future that have put in a lifetime of work as well. For me, it was like I didn’t have to step on the mat and battle for this award,” Gable said, “but I kinda did my whole life and this is something that you get for doing that. I’m pretty proud of it.”
His involvement in The Last Champion
“We’ve had quite a few wrestling movies out there, but we don’t call this a ‘wrestling movie.’ It just so happens that the sport that’s involved in this movie is [amateur] wrestling, so it’s one of these things where I didn’t even know about the movie [at first] but the producer was a wrestler and his family was involved in the sport, Glenn Withrow. I get a call, and it’s interesting because he asked me if I would be interested in having a role in this movie,” Gable said, “but he said it was already done. What had happened was they had a former wrestler of mine that was in the area come in and look at the wrestling part of it to make sure they were good and [authentic] to the sport and to help the movie. When they got done looking at the wrestling part—and it’s a major part, but it’s not the storyline—the wrestler looked at him and said, ‘Whoa… I think you need some help there. It’s not as good as it can be.’ So the guy goes, ‘Well, do you want to help me, help us out here?’ and [the wrestler] said, ‘No. Why don’t you call this guy named Dan Gable?’”
“So, he called me and of course he knew me—I think the guy there probably could have helped him just as much—but that brought me into the movie and he actually gave me a part, changed a couple of things to make it happen. We changed and re-shot all of the wrestling scenes, or at least most of them,” Gable said, “and we made them into pretty good wrestling scenes. It’s pretty spectacular, not phony from a standpoint of ‘nobody does that move’. Actually, the move at the end is, ‘Whoa! Where’d that come from?’ They brought in me, they brought in Olympic Champion Randy Lewis, announcer Jason Bryant and we recalled the match, so the wrestling is more proper now.”
You can check out the full interview at this link.