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Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Director of Athletics Bruce Baumgartner affirmed his status as the greatest freestyle heavyweight wrestler in American history by winning the bronze medal at the Centennial Olympic Games at Atlanta after capturing the 1995 World Championship.
Before taking the mats in Atlanta, Baumgartner was honored by his fellow United States Olympic athletes when he was chosen to be captain of the USA Olympic Team and to carry the American flag for the Games Opening Ceremonies.
Baumgartner proudly carried the Stars and Stripes into the Olympic Stadium, leading the parade of 600-plus U.S. athletes before an estimated worldwide television audience of more than 3.5 billion people.

Honored as the winner of the James E. Sullivan Award in 1995 as the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, and inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002, Baumgartner had not lost to an American wrestler from1981 through his retirement from competition in 1997, a span of more than 17 years.

He certainly added to his many wrestling records and accomplishments by capturing the bronze medal in Atlanta, he is one of just eight athletes in U.S. history to medal in four different Olympiads.

He won his first gold medal in Los Angeles in 1984, America's first in 60 years of super heavyweight wrestling. 
He followed with a silver medal performance at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea, four years later, and then became the first American wrestler to ever medal in three consecutive Olympics when he won the gold for the second time in Barcelona, Spain in 1992.

During the span, Baumgartner competing for the New York Athletic Club, also won World Championships in 1995, 1993, and 1986 and added several other medals.  With the bronze medal from Atlanta, Baumgartner has now captured 13 World and Olympic medals, more than any other freestyle wrestler in history.  He shared the mark of 12 world-level medals with Alexander Medved of the former Soviet Union, but now stands alone at the top.
Before winning the Sullivan Award in 1995, Baumgartner was one of the ten finalists for the prestigious honor four previous times in 1986, 1992, 1993 and 1994.

The 47-year-old from Edinboro, Pa., was head wrestling coach at Edinboro University before becoming Director of Athletics in 1998.  Baumgartner coached for 13 years at Edinboro, 7 as a head coach.  In 1997, he led the Fighting Scots to a 14-0 dual meet record, the best in the school history, and an 6th-place team finish at the NCAA Division I national championships. 

Baumgartner began his personal quest for gold in 1982 with his first "grand-slam" title as he captured the NCAA Division I national championship at Indiana State University.  Over his brilliant career, Baumgartner won 134 of 146 collegiate matches (134-12) including 73 falls.  He was twice runner up at the national collegiate tournament, and then posted a 44-0 mark his senior year to capture the NCAA crown.

His success in college was not limited to the mats as Baumgartner was honored by the NCAA as a "Top 5 Award" recipient for his athletic, leadership, and academic success as a collegiate student-athlete.  He was later awarded an NCAA post-graduate scholarship after compiling a 3.77 grade point average in Industrial Art Education.  He utilized the award to earn a master's degree at Oklahoma State University, where he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant.

Bruce performs a great deal of community service as a motivational speaker.  He has been invited to various corporations, businesses and conferences to deliver speeches that reflect his dedication and work in wrestling.

Bruce and his wife Linda have three sons: Bryan, 17; Zachary, 14; and Dylan, 11.

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Copyright 2008 • Bruce Baumgartner

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