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JOHN SMITH, American Wrestling Hero
A photographic look at Smiths' contributions off the mat

A true wrestling hero makes his mark not only by his successes on the mat but also through his contributions to the wrestling community when he is off the mat. John Smith, one of America's most celebrated wrestlers, continues to make contributions to the sport by attending youth events in his free time and serving as a role model for young athletes across the nation.

John Smith recently attended the 2002 Kids' Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Championships in Enid, Oklahoma. Smith's presence at the event was greatly appreciated by the kids, parents, and staff members alike: John assisted by presenting the placewinners with their medals at the awards ceremony as well as signing autographs, shaking hands, and taking photographs with the wrestlers.

Smith is currently the head coach at Oklahoma State University, which he also attended as an undergraduate from 1984 to 1988. His list of career accomplishments are extensive at both the national and international level. Smith won two NCAA Championship titles (1987 and 1988), and achieved All-American status three times.

In freestyle competition, Smith is the only American wrestler to win six career world titles, which were achieved in consecutive years. His first title was earned in 1987, when Smith won the World Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Smith continued his streak of victories at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, by capturing the gold medal.

He dominated World Freestyle Championships for the next three years, receiving the championship title in 1989, 1990 and 1991.Smith's final world title was earned with his gold medal performance at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. After receiving his second Olympic gold medal, Smith returned to Oklahoma State University to take the position as the Cowboys' head coach. Two years later, he led OSU to an NCAA Championship team title, and in 1998 he coached two Cowboys, Teague Moore and Eric Guerrero, to individual national titles.

In 1997, Smith was inducted as a Distinguished Member in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He also coached the 2000 Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia, with co-head coaches Greg Strobel and Dan Gable.

Smith's successes on the mat as a competitor, his leadership in coaching, and his contributions to the wrestling community make him an ideal role model for aspiring athletes.

Click here to read John Smith's full biography on the Oklahoma State Wrestling site.

JOHN SMITH PHOTO GALLERY: click on thumbnail for larger image

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