Photo courtesy of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Welcome to a weekly series on TheMat.com called USA Wrestling History Lesson. Each week, we will highlight one athlete that has wrapped up his or her wrestling career, sharing the impact that they’ve had on the sport.
This week, we take a look at Dennis Hall, an Olympic medalist and three-time Olympian.
In high school, Hall won three Junior National titles in Greco-Roman. Hall began his international career soon after, leaving the University of Wisconsin after his freshman season to commit himself entirely to Greco-Roman.
His first individual Senior international event was the 1992 Olympic Games, where at the age of 21, he tallied an impressive eighth-place finish at 57 kg/125 pounds. He dominated on the domestic level, making the next seven World/Olympic Teams. During that time, he collected two World medals and an Olympic medal.
Below is a recap of his 1993-1999 performances:
- 1993 World Championships – ninth
- 1994 World Championships – bronze
- 1995 World Championships – gold
- 1996 Olympic Games (Atlanta) – silver
- 1997 World Championships – sixth
- 1998 World Championships – 20th
- 1999 World Championships – 28th
His gold medal in 1995 made him only the second wrestler in U.S. history to win a World title in Greco-Roman. En route to the gold medal, he defeated four former World champions.
He made his way back onto the World stage, going down a weight class to 55 kg/121 pounds and securing a spot on the 2004 Olympic Team. At the Athens Games, Hall picked up a 14th-place finish.
Other notable performances include a two Pan American Games gold medals (1995, 99) and a 2000 Pan American Championships title.
While training, Hall served as the head assistant coach for University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2000-03. After retiring, he was the head coach at the U.S. Olympic Education Center in Michigan from 2009-10. He went back to coach at UWSP from 2011 to 2014.
Fans remember his classic 2004 Olympic Trials performance in Indianapolis against a fellow 1996 Olympic silver medalist Brandon Paulson, where the deciding match went into overtime and was one of the longest and most memorable Greco-Roman battles in history.
In 2011, Hall was he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member, the highest honor.
Check out the other USA Wrestling History Lessons HERE.