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Olympic champ Wittenberg to be inducted into Yeshiva Hall of Fame

Henry Wittenberg, 1948 Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler and head wrestling coach at Yeshiva University for a decade, will be welcomed posthumously as an inaugural member of YU's Athletics Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced Saturday on Twitter.

Henry Wittenberg
Wittenberg, who was welcomed into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1977, is one of ten athletes and coaches who will be inducted into Yeshiva's new Hall of Fame on Monday, May 8.

Wittenberg was coach of the Yeshiva wrestling program from 1957 to 1967. The NCAA Division III mat program at the New York City-based school was eliminated in June 2015.

Prior to coaching at Yeshiva, Wittenberg made a name for himself in freestyle wrestling throughout the U.S. and the world, despite never having wrestled in high school. The New Jersey native discovered wrestling at City College of New York. After graduating from CCNY in 1940, Wittenberg had a stellar career in freestyle wrestling, not only winning eight National AAU championships, but also going undefeated in more than 300 matches during the 1940s.

Beyond the U.S., Wittenberg earned medals at two Olympics. He won the light heavyweight (191.5 pounds) freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics. Four years later, Wittenberg won a silver medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games, becoming the first U.S. wrestler to have earned two Olympic medals since 1908. In addition to his Olympic medals, Wittenberg placed first at two Maccabiah Games in Israel in 1950 and 1953.

In addition to coaching at Yeshiva, Wittenberg also coached at City College, and served as coach of the United States Greco-Roman wrestling team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Wittenberg passed away in March 2010 at age 91.

For more information on the Yeshiva Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony, visit the school's Hall of Fame website.

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