The College Tradition
When Gable graduated from high school, Bob Buzzard, one of the older wrestlers Gable admired, was in town for
the weekend from Iowa State University. Gable invited Buzzard over to work out on a mat he had set up in his basement. Gable, with no reason to think he could lose after such superb high school career, was beaten very badly. Gable never conceived that he could be defeated that easily, and realized that being a three-time state champion was not going to be enough to cut it in big time wrestling.
Gable chose Iowa State University for several reasons. Among them: it was close to home and it had a big-time program. The school suited his needs, and Iowa was the land where wrestling stars were made. Upon entering college, Gable already had a reputation—even among wrestlers—as someone who pushed well beyond the norm. In a sport where a fanatical and religious devotion is the norm, where jogging when it's hot out while wearing trashbags under your sweatsuit, or eating ice chips for dinner in order to make weight can be routine, Gable would often push even further, training for six to seven hours a day. It was said that he showed up in his class with ankle weights on, squeezing hand trainers so he could get in as much of a workout as possible.