Name the ten most well-known leaders in the history of the United States and almost everyone will name Abraham Lincoln as one of those presidents. He is just one of those historical figures that almost everyone knows the name and image of. His accomplishments before and during his presidency are well-known, as is his tragic death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
What isn’t so well-known is that he had a career as a professional wrestler as a young man. It isn’t something you really think about when it comes to presidents, but often they do have actual lives outside of politics before they start running for office. Ronald Reagan was an actor, Donald Trump a real estate tycoon, James Garfield was a school teacher, Grover Cleveland was a sheriff, Herbert Hoover was an engineer, and Abraham Lincoln was a star wrestler.
Now in those days, wrestling wasn’t what it is today. So if you’re imagining Abraham Lincoln tackling someone else while hitting them with a chair, that isn’t what this was. According to historical sources, the wrestling of those days was more like grappling. Two men would enter the ring, lock arms and try to throw the other to the ground.
What is interesting is that Abraham Lincoln was really, really good at wrestling, earning around 300 wins and just one loss. He was so impressive that in 1992, almost 130 years after his assassination, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame added him to their Outstanding American wing. Surprisingly, he isn’t the only United States president that has been graced with that honor. George Washington, William Howard Taft, and Teddy Roosevelt are also located in that particular section of the Hall of Fame.
During his wrestling career, Lincoln was renowned for his strength in the ring. At the age of 21, he won the title of county wrestling champion.
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