The Orion High School wrestling team had the special opportunity to interact with former Iowa and Olympic champion wrestler Randy Lewis. He came into practice on Monday, Dec. 2, to show some techniques and share some of his experiences throughout his wrestling career.
Lewis was a three-time high school state champion in South Dakota. During his sophomore year, he went 29-0 with all of his wins by pin. "I was ranked number one in the state, and in my 12th match of the season I pinned the guy that was ranked second in the state, so I reset my goals to pin everyone the rest of that year and I did," Lewis recalled.
After high school he went on to wrestle at the University of Iowa, where he became a four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion. Lewis liked to put on a show for the great crowds at Iowa, and it showed during his NCAA finals match his sophomore year. The match ended in a 20-14 win for Lewis. It is still the highest-scoring finals match in history.
He made the 1980 Olympic team but wasn't able to compete due to President Jimmy Carter's boycott of the Olympic Games that year in Moscow. Four years later, he made the team again and won Olympic gold in Los Angeles. "It was amazing,” Lewis said. “I tech-falled everybody and it was in Los Angeles. Thirteen of my high school teammates and friends came to watch me wrestle and it was quite of an experience."
The events leading to Lewis’ visit began as the school district was looking to save money on new lighting at C.R. Hanna Elementary School. Superintendent Joe Blessman got into contact with a lighting company that had a good deal which would allow the school district to save money.
Blessman was talking to the businessman when wrestling was brought up and the man mentioned he knew Randy Lewis. Blessman knew the benefits of having a successful wrestler meet the team and motivate the wrestlers as they heard about his journey to success.
Lewis reminded the wrestlers of the pain, sacrifice, and dedication they must have in order to reach their goals. After showing some techniques, he stayed for pictures and autographs.