John Peterson - Clinician

1972 Olympic Freestyle Silver Medalist
1976 Olympic Freestyle Champion
1971 World Championships Silver Medalist
1973 World Championships Bronze Medalist
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Member
It can be said that John Peterson followed the footsteps of his younger brother, Ben. Yet when all is said and done, they stand together at the apex of wrestling success. Hailing from the tiny farm community of Comstock in northwestern Wisconsin, John won three conference titles and NAIA All-America honors for the University of Wisconsin at Stout. But only then did his wrestling career blossom.

During his senior year, John dropped by Iowa State to join Ben and his team in preparing for the 1971 Pan American trials. John began to think of a long-shot bid for the World Championships, although the 177-pounder had met only grief in cutting to the international 163 pound class. An off-the-cuff discussion with Dan Gable proved the turning point. "Don't cut all that weight," the Cyclone star told John. "You can wrestle and win at 180.5 pounds."

With his faith now bolstered by wrestling confidence, John began to succeed. He made the World team that summer, and again in '73, '78 and '79, winning bronze and silver medals the latter two years.

In the Olympics of 1972, Gable and Wayne Wells, who won as expected, but Ben also took gold at 198 pounds and John won six matches in a row to capture the silver. While winning three National AAU titles and three World Cups, John blended his wrestling interests with his deep and abiding faith, as a coach and competitor for Athletes in Action. He spent three of seven AIA years in Europe, and lived in Vienna, Austria, for five more years as a staff member of the Campus Crusade for Christ.

The 1976 Games in Montreal provided the ultimate wrestling achievement for John Peterson. A closing victory over Mahmet Uzun of Turkey captured the gold medal. Ben collected the silver at 198.

John's story is not only one of athletic success, but one of a positive influence on the lives of young athletes. As an outstanding ambassador of our sport, John Alan Peterson is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Blog Entries

1972 vs 1992 Olympic Teams
Another Olympics is over for Wrestling
Brothers Sharpening Brothers
The Influence of Dads on Wrestlers
The Competitor Asics USA Wrestling
National Wrestling Hall of Fame
USA Wrestling
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