Bruce Baumgartner - Athletic Honors
Baumgartner, who was nominated for the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award in 1986, and from 1992-94, captured the elusive honor on a fifth nomination in 1995. He bested an impressive field of competition for the award that year, including golfer Tiger Woods. Baumgartner was only the second wrestler to receive the Sullivan since its inception in 1930.
At his fourth Olympic competition, in Atlanta in 1996, Baumgartner was named U.S. team captain and carried the national flag into the ceremonies. He returned from the games with a bronze medal that year, thus joining an elite field of only four other U.S. athletes who had won medals at four different Olympic competitions.
In 1997, after winning his eighth World Cup Championship, Baumgartner retired from competition. He was named to the Sports Hall of Fame in New Jersey in 2001 and was enshrined at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as a member of the inaugural class of 2002. Since 1988 Baumgartner has served as athletic director at Edinboro University where his wife, the former Linda Hochman, is also on staff as a sports trainer. In 2000 Baumgartner was honored as a Legend of the Century by the New York Athletic Club.
At 6-feet-2-inches tall and 286 pounds Baumgartner's physical strength is anchored largely in his 18-inch biceps and 52-inch chest. Regardless, his training partners and opponents counter that mental fortitude, maturity, and introspection have played a significant role toward the longevity and magnitude of his amateur career.