WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump presented the nation’s highest civilian honor to Dan Gable, a renowned wrestler and coach from Iowa who won a gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
“He’s the greatest wrestler, probably ever,” Trump said. “He's made our country very proud and he's a true GOAT."
Trump used an October campaign rally to announce the selection of Gable for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bringing him on stage to the delight of the crowd as he sought to win over Iowa voters. The ceremony on Monday at the White House fulfills that commitment.
Gable is one of several sports figures to be presented the award during Trump’s time in office. Gable was a champion wrestler at Iowa State University, compiling a 117-1 record and winning two NCAA titles. During his six matches at the Munich Olympics, he went unscored upon.
Gable would go on to an incredibly successful coaching career at the University of Iowa, where his teams won 15 NCAA titles.
“No one has done more to promote wrestling in America than Dan Gable,” Trump said.
Trump also used the ceremony to push his false narrative that he won the election, saying at one point: “I'm 2-0 and that's pretty good, too. But we'll see how that turns out."
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to people who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to its culture or to other significant endeavors.
Last week, Trump presented the medal to college football Hall of Famer and political ally Lou Holtz, whose 34-year coaching career included the 1988 national title at the University of Notre Dame.