Danny Mack Gable was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on October 25, 1948, to Mack Gable, a real estate salesman, and Katie Gable. The small town of Waterloo was predominately a farming community, but among the cornstalks in the quiet places of Iowa lingers some of the best wrestling in America.
He didn't discover wrestling early, like most kids today, who enter the sport at four or five, competing on the weekends in highly charged meets. For Gable, swimming was the first arena in which he found success. At the age of twelve he was the state YMCA back-stroke champion. When he entered junior high, however, the school had no swimming program, so Gable played football and baseball—and, he wrestled.
The night of his first loss on the mat was preceded by a day of heavy snow in Waterloo. Gable was so upset by the loss that he locked himself in his room, emerging later without speaking. He went out and shoveled the driveway until it was clean (faster, it's been said, than a snowblower could have done it). When he came back inside, he vowed never to lose another match in high school. He went on to win sixty-four straight matches.