Olympic Wrestling Medalist Rodney Smith ’88
Posted August 26, 2008
[View our historic photo archives.] With the Summer Olympics in Beijing recently coming to a close, we wanted to post a photo of wrestler Rodney Smith ’88, who won a Bronze Medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. This picture was taken after he defeated Pedro Villuela of Spain. Smith’s only blemish in five days of wrestling during the games was losing 1-0 to Hungary’s Attilla Repka, who eventually won the Gold Medal. The Springfield native wrestled for the U.S. again at the Atlanta games in 1996, captaining the team and finishing ninth in the competition.
In the 1992 medal-deciding match, Smith was losing 3-0 to Cuba’s Cecilio Rodriguez with 90 seconds left, but made an amazing comeback and won, 6-3. Wrestling again in the 149.5-pound weight class in 1996, he overcame a fractured back and knee injuries to finish with a 2-2 record in the Atlanta games.
Smith, nicknamed “The Pit Bull” by his friends, lives in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood and still conducts wrestling clinics, and helped coach some of the wrestlers on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. To view a photo of Smith as a Golden Bear wrestler, visit our historic photo archives.
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