Former ISU Wrestler to be honored

Two Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame will be inducted into the FILA Hall of Fame at the World Championships in Budapest in September.

Yojiro Uetake Obata and Kevin Jackson have been chosen for the International Hall of Fame, located inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Okla. The two join previous U.S. inductees Bruce Baumgartner and John Smith.

Jackson was a two-time high school state champion in Michigan and a four-time All-America at Louisiana State and Iowa State. But it was after college that Jackson's career turned into gold.

In 1991, he won a gold medal at the World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling, in Varna, Bulgaria. The next year, at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, he again won the gold medal at 180.5 pounds. In 1995 in Atlanta, he won his second World gold medal.

Today, Jackson serves as National Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling.

Uetake won two freestyle Olympic gold medals for his native Japan, competing in 1964 in Tokyo and 1968 in Mexico City. As a collegian, he won all 58 of his matches for Oklahoma State University, claiming the 130-pound NCAA title for three straight years. As a junior and senior, he was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the championships.

"I don't know how good he was," said his collegiate coach, Myron Roderick, "because I never saw him challenged."

The two join an outstanding group to be honored by the FILA Hall of Fame.

Chosen for induction along with Uetake and Jackson for their freestyle accomplishments are: Eniu Valchev-Dimov of Bulgaria who has a collection of Olympic medals in every color, winning gold, silver and bronze; Makharbek Khadarzev of Uzbekistan, one of the world's all-time great wrestlers who, representing the Soviet Union, won two Olympic gold medals and a silver and five World golds, two silvers and a bronze; Kustaa Pihiajamaeki of Finland, winner of three Olympic medals, two golds and a silver; and Levan Tediashvili of Russia who won two Olympic golds, four World golds and one World silver.

Greco-Roman honorees include: Vincenzo Maenza of Italy who won two Olympic gold medals and one silver; Armen Mazarian of Bulgaria, winner of two Olympic golds and a silver and two World golds, two silvers and two bronzes; and Rudolf Svensson of Sweden who in three Olympic Games won two gold medals and one silver.

The Legend Honoree is Olympic and World gold medalist Csaba Hegedues of Hungary. Honored for his work as an official is Lassie Tolvola of Finland.

The FILA International Hall of Fame was founded with its charter class in 2003. The 2005 induction is scheduled for a banquet at the Parliament House in Budapest, Hungary, following the final day of competition in the World Championships.

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