Dan Hodge

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDaniel Allen "Dan"•Hodge
Used nameDan•Hodge
Born13 May 1932 in Perry, Oklahoma (USA)
Died25 December 2020 in Perry, Oklahoma (USA)
Measurements185 cm / 84 kg
AffiliationsOklahoma Sooners, Norman (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1


Dan Hodge was the first wrestler to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Renowned for his strength, he was wrestling’s big attraction while a student at Oklahoma in the mid-50s, but he never managed to win the gold medal that was expected of him. He won three AAU freestyle titles, three NCAA titles, and one AAU Greco-Roman championships. In 1956 he won all three, recording 14 pins in 14 matches en route, but at the Olympic Trials, he was beaten by the 1952 gold medalist, Bill Smith. Hodge was taken to Melbourne as the Greco representative but was moved back to freestyle when Smith was declared ineligible because he had briefly been a coach, which was then against the rules of amateur status. At the Olympics, Hodge lost the gold medal when he was pinned by Bulgaria’s Nikola Stanchev with only two seconds left in the match.

In 1958, Hodge embarked on a career in a new sport – boxing. He had 17 amateur bouts, culminating with a victory in the 1959 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight division. He turned professional and had nine fights as a heavyweight, winning seven before retiring in 1961. He then became a professional wrestler, fighting Lou Thesz for the NWA Heavyweight title in 1963, with each winning one match. Hodge later became chairman of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission which regulates boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts.

Hodge was a member of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for both amateur and pro wrestling, and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (1996). The best wrestler at the NCAA Meet is annually given the Dan Hodge Award.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Wrestling USA Dan Hodge
Middleweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) AC
1956 Summer Olympics Wrestling USA Dan Hodge
Middleweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver

Special Notes