Photo: Dremiel Byers at the 2010 World Championships. Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.
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 Dremiel Byers, a World champion and two-time Olympian in Greco-Roman.
He is considered one of the most decorated Greco-Roman athletes in U.S. history, with three World medals, the most of any American Greco athlete, tied with another heavyweight hero, Matt Ghaffari.
In 2002, Byers became the first, and so far the only, African-American Greco wrestler to win a Senior World title. For gold, Byers defeated eventual five-time World finalist Mihaly Deak Bardos of Hungary. It was only Byers’ second Senior World appearance. He became only the fourth U.S. wrestler to win a Greco-Roman World title (since then, a fifth joined the list, 2006 World champion Joe Warren).
In addition to his World gold, Byers also claimed bronze at the 2007 World Championships and silver at the 2009 World Championships. He also advanced to a medal-match at the 2010 World Championships.
Overall, he represented the USA at 120/130 kg at eight Senior World Championships (1999, 2002, ’05-07, ’09-11) as well as two Olympic Games (2008, 2012). In his Olympic showings, he was sixth in 2008 and 10th in 2009.
As an Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) wrestler, Byers competed at the 2005 Military World Championships, winning a gold medal. Byers won 10 U.S. Open titles during his career, showing consistency on the national level.
Other notable international performances for Byers include:
- Two-time Pan American Games silver medalist (1999, 2007)
- Three-time Pan American Championships medalist (2002, ’03, ’06)
- Six-time Dave Schultz Memorial International champion (2002, ’05, ’07, ’09, ’10, ’12)
After the 2012 Olympic Games, Byers retired from the sport and eventually went on to become an Army WCAP coach in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Earlier this year, Byers was named a National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee for the Class of 2020. Unfortunately, due to CoVid-19, the induction ceremony has been postponed until 2021.