“No one has promoted wrestling more in America than Dan Gable. He is a giant of sport who has won one of the most difficult and oldest sports in the world,” Trump said during the ceremony. “He’s probably the greatest wrestler ever. We’ve never had anyone like him before. He made our country so proud. He’s a real goat. Do you know what goats are? Goats? Greatest of all time.”
The ceremony is the second time in one week that the president awarded the medal among the crowd, as many of them were not far from society or wearing masks.
“Thank you very much for giving this child here the opportunity to reach this level from the highest award a civilian can receive, the Presidential Medal of Freedom … As for the sport of wrestling, being the first to win this award becomes a bigger challenge for all participants,” said Gabel. “.
During the ceremony, Trump also boasted of a “2-0” in the number of times he won the election, despite losing the 2020 presidential race.
Describing Gable’s collective record, Trump said: “He won 117 games in a row and lost only one. Well, you know, in politics, I won two games, so I’m 2-0, and that’s really good too. See how that turns out.”
As a wrestler, Gable amassed a record 117-1 while at Iowa State University, was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, and won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics, representing the United States.
As a coach at the University of Iowa, the Gable teams won 15 national team titles for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and 12 of the athletes he trained went on to become Olympians. He has also coached five Olympic Games.
Trump has held two more Freedom Medal ceremonies at the White House since the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States.
Trump announced at a rally in October that he would award the medal to Gable.
The Medal of Freedom is awarded “to individuals who have made particularly meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other important public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.
Trump diverged from some of his predecessors, who celebrated several Medal of Freedom honors in public ceremonies inside the White House. Instead, the president has often chosen to hold individual honors ceremonies, sometimes with limited press in the Oval Office.
The president has honored several professional athletes – many of them supporters – with the medal since taking office, including former NFL star and Minnesota Supreme Court judge Alan Page, former Boston Celtics point guard Bob Cosie, former Lakers player Jerry West, Woods, Former Yankees player Mariano Rivera and former NFL midfielder Roger Staubbach.
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