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#ThrowbackThursday USA Wrestling History Lesson: Randy Lewis

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Oct. 29, 2020, 2:15 p.m. (ET)

Photo courtesy of National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Welcome to’s weekly series 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 Randy Lewis, a 1984 Olympic champion in men’s freestyle.

Check out the other USA Wrestling History Lessons HERE.

Lewis found success in wrestling at a young age, winning his first national title at 11 years old. A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Lewis won three high school state titles, as well as a Junior Nationals title and a Junior World gold medal. He set himself up for success and earned a starting spot in the prestigious University of Iowa lineup.

While at Iowa, Lewis was a three-time finalist, winning NCAA titles his sophomore and junior seasons (1979, ‘80). Battling through a severe injury to his arm in his senior year, Lewis still managed to make the podium to become a four-time All-American.

While still in college, Lewis made his first Olympic Team in freestyle in 1980; however, due to the U.S. boycott, Lewis was unable to attend. He continued his international career, making the 1982 World Team at 62 kg/136.5 pounds. At the World Championships, Lewis took fourth.

In 1984, Lewis scored another Olympic bid, though it was a controversial process, which included overturned victories, a rematch and arbitration. All that aside, Lewis stormed through the 62 kg bracket at the ’84 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming one of nine Americans to win an Olympic title that year (including seven in freestyle). He was coached in the 1984 Olympics by his college coach Dan Gable.

Lewis nearly won his third Olympic Trials in 1988, defeating eventual two-time Olympic champion John Smith in a preliminary trials event a few weeks before the Olympic Trials. Smith won the spot, sweeping Lewis in the Olympic Trials finals in Pensacola, Fla., two matches to none.

Additionally, Lewis represented the USA at the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1990 Pan American Championships, winning gold in both events. He was well-known for his explosive offense, able to put up big points in many of his matches, even against high-quality opponents.

Randy Lewis was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998. Known by many by his nickname “Loo Boo,” Lewis is often seen at major wrestling events, bringing his colorful personality and still a fan favorite.