UNI’s only Olympic champion Bill Smith is the subject of a new documentary

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 | Wrestling

A new documentary, entitled Bill Smith: A Wrestling Legend, tells the story of the life and career of the oldest living Olympic wrestling champion. Mike is the producer of the documentary, which was filmed by Mike Reese of Atlas Media.

Bill Smith grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and became a wrestling star at Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa. He was NCAA champion in both 1949 and 1950, and closed out his college career undefeated, missing his senior year of competition due to a fluke in the eligibility system.

Bill also won three AAU national freestyle titles, but the crowning moment came when he captured a gold medal in the 160.5-pound class at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

As a coach, Bill led the San Francisco Olympic Club to seven national team titles and also coached high schools in two separate states (California and Illinois) to team titles, one of just three coaches to ever do that.

The documentary consists of four parts:

  1. Bill discussing his life and career, with many photos;
  2. Bill talking about other great wrestlers he has known;
  3. The dedication of the UNI wrestling mat in his honor, and
  4. Family memories.

“I believe this documentary is a valuable addition to the legacy of the great sport of wrestling,” said Mike. “I am very proud of the work that Mike Reese and I put into it.”

The DVD is $14.95 plus $5 for S&H and can be ordered through Culture House by calling 641-791-3072, or sending a check for $19.95 to Culture House, 3830 Harbor Avenue, Newton, IA 50208.

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