Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The son of Frederick Rudolph and Amelia Gotch, Gotch was born and raised on a small farm three miles south of Humboldt, Iowa. He became interested in wrestling at a young age. Gotch met Dan McLeod , former American heavyweight champion, in Lu Verne, Iowa, on June 18, 1899. McLeod introduced Gotch to Martin "Farmer" Burns who would become his trainer.
Also during his time in Alaska, Gotch tried his hand at boxing, but failed miserably against the heavyweight Frank Slavin .
Gotch returned to Iowa where he took the American heavyweight title from Tom Jenkins . Jenkins went on to teach at West Point for 37 years. Gotch then went after The Russian Lion, George Hackenschmidt, an Estonian who had received the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World. Gotch and Hackenschmidt wrestled at Chicago's Dexter Park Pavilion on April 3, 1908 to a crowd of over 40,000. Hackenschmidt was favored to win, but after two grueling hours he conceded to Gotch. This match crowned him as World Heavyweight Champion.
Frank Gotch became a superstar. He was known around the world for his athletic ability. He was invited to meet President Teddy Roosevelt. He starred in the play "All About A Bout" where he received standing ovations.
Riding on the wave of fame, Gotch and Hackenschmidt agreed to another match and played at the newly opened Comiskey Park on September 4, 1908, to a crowd of 33,000. Gotch won again, easier this time, and was considered nearly invincible.
Gotch retired from wrestling in late 1914. While in retirement, Gotch joined Sells-Floto Circus where he would pay any man $250.00 if they could last 15 minutes in a match against him without being pinned or conceding. Not once did he have to pay.
He grew tired of touring and moved back to Humboldt. After a year of health troubles, Frank Gotch died in 1917 of at age 39 of uremic poisoning .
- Considered to be the best professional wrestler of all time by many sources
- Humboldt Community School District sponsors the annual Frank Gotch Wrestling Tournament
- Local kids wrestling club still uses his name
- Frank A. Gotch State Park , three miles south of Humboldt, near his childhood farm
- First inductee to both the Professional Wrestling Writers Hall of Fame in Latham, New York , and Lou Thesz/George Tragos Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Newton, Iowa
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