Olympic wrestling champion Bruce Bumgartner speaks at Tyrone Wrestling Boosters banquet

Bruce Bumgartner is a name well-known to any student of the sport of wrestling.
His efforts and abilities and the opportunities he has made for himself are legendary in the sports world. Mr. Bumgartner spoke at the Tyrone Area Wrestling Boosters banquet, which was held at the Lakemont Casino on Sunday, May 1, 2005.
The awards were handed out and the meal was served and Bruce Bumgartner spoke of the methods that have enabled him to become the success on the mat and off that have molded him into the person he is today.
Mr. Bumgartner did not speak long, perhaps about 15 minutes, but what he said was extremely relevant to every wrestler, parent and fan in the room listening avidly to what he had to say.
He advised all to decide to pursue education first, to set goals and write them down, to work the hardest a person is capable, and to surround yourself with the people best able to help you achieve your goals.
Bumgartner is now the Director of Athletics at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He is most proud of winning two Olympic championships. He signs his autographs-Bruce Bumgartner, Olympic Champ. His proudest moment was carrying the American flag for the Olympic Games opening ceremonies at the Atlanta Olympics. To do that, you have to be picked by a vote of all of the 600 plus American Olympic athletes. The flag which Bumgartner carried, was seen on television by an audience of more than 3.5 billion people. The American athletes selected Bumgartner as captain and to carry the flag in the opening ceremony.
When Bruce retired from wrestling following the Atlanta Olympics, Bumgartner was the World leader, having captured 13 World and Olympic medals after formerly being tied with Alexander Medved of the former Soviet Union. At that time, Bumgartner had not been defeated by an American wrestler for the past 17 years, from 1981-1997.
Bruce won his first gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, becoming at that time the first American in 60 years of super heavyweight wrestling.
He followed that with a silver medal at the 1988 games in Seoul, South Korea and then four years later, became the first American wrestler to ever medal in three consecutive Olympics, taking the gold for the second time in Barcelona, Spain in 1992.
With the bronze medal he won in 1996, Bruce passed Medved to become the most decorated freestyle wrestler in history. Bumgartner is one of only eight American athletes to have medaled in four Olympics.
Bumgartner was honored as the winner of the prestigious James E. Sullivan Award, given to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States in 1995 and inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002.
Bruce revealed to the crowd at the Casino on Sunday that he was not an instant success on the mat or as a student. In his first year of wrestling as a ninth grader, his record was 3-3-with three wins by forfeit. His best finish in high school was a third place medal at the state championships during his senior year.
Using his four-point formula, Bruce attended Indiana State University where he went from a “C” student who just breezed through high school, to a student who carried an A- grade (3.77 on a scale of 4) at Edinboro University, and went on to earn a master’s degree at Oklahoma State University. He was honored as a “Top 5 Award” award recipient for his athletic, leadership and academic success as a college student-athlete.
Bumgartner captured an NCAA championship in 1982 and over his brilliant career won 134 of 146 collegiate matches, including 73 falls. He was twice runner up at the national level, before posting a 44-0 mark his senior year to capture the NCAA crown.
The 42-year old from Edinboro, PA was the head wrestling coach at Edinboro University for 13 years before becoming the Director of Athletics in 1998. Bumgartner coached for 13 years at Edinboro, seven as a head coach. In 1997, he led the Fighting Scots to a 14-0 dual meet record, the best in school history and a sixth place finish at the NCAA Division I national championships.
Bumgartner’s presence at the banquet was made possible because of the effort and continued love and hard work on behalf of Tyrone athletics by Harry Sickler.