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Leroy Kemp

Induction Year: 2001 Sport: Wrestling

On a red letter day for amateur wrestling in the U.S in 1971 Chardon Hilltopper freshman Leroy Kemp decided he was not cut out to be a basketball player, and grudgingly deciding to give wrestling a try. But his interest grew after attending a wrestling camp where several U.S Olympians were training for the 1972 Summer Games. The result: in his last two seasons at Chardon, he went 55-0, won two Ohio Division II championships, and a High School Junior Nationals title in 1974 and posted a rare American victory against a member of the Soviet Junior National Team when it stopped in Cleveland on a U.S tour At the University of Wisconsin he added three NCAA Division I 158-lb. titles and built a 143-6-1 record which included 87 consecutive wins and a 103 match unbeaten string. In his first international tournament in 1978, at 21 years and eight months, he became the youngest American to win a gold medal at the World freestyle championships and eventually became the first American to win three World titles by snaring golds in 1979 and 1982. He added Pan-American Games titles in 1979 and 1983 and seven national freestyle titles to become one of the most decorated matmen in U.S. history. Inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1990, he now lives in Forest Lake, MN.