DES MOINES — Lawmakers in the Iowa House and Senate approved separate resolutions Thursday opposing the decision of the International Olympic Committee to end wrestling as an Olympic event and another recognizing Oct. 25 as Dan Gable Day in Iowa.
“Almost got me choked up. Almost,” Gable said after the House approved a resolution celebrating his 21 years of coaching during which he led the University of Iowa to 15 NCAA team championships and 21 consecutive Big Ten championships.
In the other resolution, lawmakers noted Iowa’s rich heritage in wrestling at all levels and the 23 Olympic medalists from the state — 12 gold, five silver and six bronze.
One of those champions was Gable, who grew up in Waterloo, wrestled at Iowa State University and then coached at Iowa.
“I really appreciate it,” Gable said about the resolution honoring him and noted all the support he has received over the years.
“All my whole life, I’ve had unbelievable help,” he said. “Right from the beginning of my life, people jumped on board with me, and they are still jumping on board with me.
“I’m not going to let up. I’m good for business.”
Lawmakers also called on the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its recent decision to end wrestling as an Olympic competition.
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Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, called Gable “the greatest ambassador for the sport of wrestling” and “a hero of mine” and noted one of his sons is named Levi Gable Bowman. He said it was important the Legislature show its bipartisan support for wrestling at a time when the “elite of the elite wrestlers” are in Des Moines for the NCAA national championship today through Saturday.
Gable, who received a standing ovation from senators, said wrestling “will be set back if we lose the 2020 Olympics,” and he vowed that “we won’t stop” until the effort succeeds to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport.
“We have a chance to make this into a positive with your help,” he said.