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 1984 Olympic champion in Greco-Roman Steve Fraser.
Check out the other USA Wrestling History Lessons HERE.
Fraser was the first U.S. wrestler to win an Olympic title in Greco-Roman, when he defeated Romania’s Ilie Matei of Romania in the 90 kg finals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Prior to facing Matei in the finals, Fraser took down three-time World champion Frank Andersson of Sweden with a 4-1 victory to propel him to the finals.
In order to even make the Olympic team, Fraser had to defeat Mike Houck, who went on to win the World Championships at 90 kg in 1985.
Since winning his Olympic title, only two other Americans have claimed Olympic gold in Greco-Roman, Jeff Blatnick, who also won in 1984, and Rulon Gardner, who won in 2000.
In addition to his Olympic gold, Fraser also owns a gold medal from the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela.
Domestically, Fraser excelled in Greco and freestyle, having won national titles in both styles.
Currently Fraser serves as the Chief of Donor and Alumni Relations at USA Wrestling, leading the fundraising efforts to increase opportunities for U.S. athletes in all three styles of wrestling.
Fraser took the position after 19 years as the U.S. National Team Greco-Roman head coach.
He led USA Wrestling to its only Greco-Roman team title in World Championships history when the Americans captured the title in 2007 in Baku, Azerbaijan, when Brad Vering (silver), Harry Lester (bronze) and Dremiel Byers (bronze) each won medals as the U.S. edged Russia by one point for the team title.
He coached Team USA at five Olympic Games, including the 2000 Sydney Games, where he was in the corner when Rulon Gardner shocked the World by knocking off three-time Olympic champion Alexander Karelin of Russia.
In 1994, Fraser was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member, the highest honor.