Ben Peterson - Camp Director

1972 Olympic Freestyle Champion
1976 Olympic Freestyle Silver Medalist
1973 World Championships Bronze Medalist
2X NCAA Champion (Iowa State)
National Wrestling Hall of Fame Member
A high school youngster from Wisconsin, competing in the 1968 Olympic trials, caught the eye of veteran coach Harold Nichols. Ben Peterson would become one of Iowa State's greatest wrestlers, and then one of America's brightest stars. He won nearly 100 collegiate matches, was a three-time Big Eight king and a three-time All-American. He captured NCAA championships in 1971 and '72.

Encouraged--you might say pushed--by his friend and teammate, Dan Gable, Peterson blended athletic skills with determination and strong faith. Over the next decade, he won seven national Freestyle titles, placed twice in the World Championships (with a bronze medal in '73), and won gold in the 1975 Pan Am Games. During this era, he was joined by his brother, John, to forge one of wrestling's great family legends.

In the '72 Olympics, Ben struggled to a draw with Gennady Strakhov of the USSR. When they emerged as the only survivors at 198 pounds, Ben earned the gold with more falls. John's silver at 180.5 was almost as sweet. The brothers returned to the Olympics in 1976 at Montreal, for equally rewarding but oddly reversed success. Levan Tediashvili, the superb Soviet who had blocked John's bid at Munich, limited Ben to a silver medal. But John captured the gold, and the Peterson brothers became the third and fourth two-time Olympic medalists in U.S. history.

Ben made a third Olympic team in 1980, only the fifth American to do that, but was thwarted by the boycott.

Faith has been a hallmark of Ben Peterson's life. Since 1976 he has coached and taught at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, and has directed a summer camp to teach his skills and his way of life to young wrestlers. In 1985, one of Ben's students, Mike Houck, became the first American to win a World Championship in Greco-Roman.

As a wrestler of outstanding achievement and as a golden example of sportsmanship and leadership, Benjamin Lee Peterson is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Blog Entries

A Confrontation That Changed My Wrestling
A Heart for Competition
A Tenacious Defense
A Year of Dabbling and Delay
Athens Olympic Observations
Be Not Ashamed of Small Beginings
Beginning or Revitalizing a Wrestling Program
Broken But Not Crushed
Building Confidence
Celebration of the Dan Gable Legacy
Create A Life Changing Event
Developing Resolve
Dreaming, Doing and Reaching
Early Failures Can Be Changed Into Victories
Every Wrestler is Valuable!
Excellence in Teaching
Facing A Giant
Finally We Get to Wrestle
Gaining Distinction By Excellance
Helping Others at Life's Junctures
Hope Deferred
Inconsistency of a Young Competitor
Inspired By A Higher Goal
Inspiring Our Youth
Jolting Experiences
Lasting Virtues That Build Champions
Memories From the Nationals
Motivated By Gratefulness
Olympic Perspectives
Olympic Training Camp Memories
Reaching a Higher Plane
Seldom Sung Heros
Self Made Man or Helped By Many?
Senior State Memories
The Art of Keeping Hope Alive
The Day I Quit and Still Won!
The Joy of Helping Others Succeed
The Lone Wolf
The Match of a Life Time
The Night My Hero Cried
The Premier Wrestling Family – The Gables
The Value of Wrestling Programs for Our Youth
Thoughts of a Winner
Ties Up That Make a Difference
Tough & Aggressive - Not a Ruthless Angry Brute!
Train With Your Head
Training to Scramble and Explode
Tribute to the Older Generation
True Confidence Under Pressure
Turning Losses into Victories
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
What is Wrestling?
Where Did the Peterson Roll Come From?
Who Invented the Peterson Roll?
Why Wrestle?
Wrestling Lays a Foundation
USA Wrestling Asics The Competitor
National Wrestling Hall of Fame
USA Wrestling
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