US President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to wrestler and coach Dan Gable at the White House on Monday. Gable is the first wrestler in history to receive such distinction.

The ceremony at the Oval Office marked the second time in one week that the President bestowed the medal among an audience where many were not social distancing or wearing masks. The ceremony was held a day after Trump tweeted that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Those who attended Dan Gable’s award ceremony were Iowa Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley. The latter just returned to his office last week after testing positive for COVID-19.

“No one has done more to promote wrestling in America than Dan Gable. He’s an athletic giant who conquered one of the most difficult and ancient sports in the world,” Trump said during the ceremony.

“He’s the greatest wrestler, probably, ever. We’ve never had anybody like him. He has made our country very proud. And he’s a true GOAT. You know what GOAT is? GOAT? Greatest Of All Time.”

US President Donald Trump to Dan Gable

Dan Gable, 72, was a two-time NCAA Wrestling Champion, three-time All-American, and three-time Big Eight Champion. In the international arena, he won gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics, among many other titles.

As University of Iowa coach, Gable’s teams won 15 NCAA national team titles. Twelve of the athletes he coached went onto become Olympians themselves. He also coached five Olympic Games.

Dan Gable (right) at the 1972 Summer Olympics. (Getty Images)

“I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to reach this level of the highest award a civilian can get, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And to the sport of wrestling, being the first to win this award becomes a higher challenge to all that participate,” said Gable as he accepted the medal.”

Trump has held two other Medal of Freedom ceremonies at the White House since the coronavirus pandemic hit the US.

Last week, the incumbent US leader gave the award to football coach Lou Holtz. Earlier in the summer, he awarded former Olympic runner Jim Ryun.

The Medal of Freedom is bestowed to “individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.

The President has honored several pro athletes with the medal since taking office, including former NFL star and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach.


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