Olympic champ Angle announces retirement from pro wrestling

Kurt Angle after winning a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta (Photo/Photo/Michel Lipchitz, AP)

Kurt Angle, 1996 Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA heavyweight wrestling champ for Clarion University who has been a major figure in professional wrestling for two decades, has revealed his plans to retire from the squared circle next month.

Angle said he will have his last pro match at WrestleMania 35 on Sunday, April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. just outside New York City.

Angle made the announcement on Monday Night Raw in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

"At WrestleMania, I will compete in my farewell match," Angle said prior to his victory over Apollo Crews.

"I'd like to thank WWE. I'd like to thank every WWE Superstar I've shared a locker room with. And most importantly, I wanna thank each and every one of you," he told the WWE Universe. "You made it so much for me. I literally had the time of my life."

A final opponent has yet to be announced.

Angle signed with WWF (World Wrestling Federation, predecessor to today's World Wrestling Entertainment) in 1998. Prior to that, Angle crafted a career of significant accomplishments in amateur wrestling spanning more than two decades. One indicator of that greatness: he is just one of four wrestlers in American history to ever win a Junior World Championship, an NCAA Championship, a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal. He achieved all four of these milestones by age 26 ... joining Dave Schultz, John Smith and Kenny Monday.

Kurt Steven Angle started wrestling at age seven. As a wrestler at Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh, Angle was a three-time PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) state wrestling championships qualifier, placing third as a junior, and winning the state title as a senior in 1987.

After graduating from Mt. Lebanon, Angle enrolled at Clarion University in western Pennsylvania. Wrestling for coach Bob Bubb, Angle compiled an impressive 116-11-2 record for a 91 percent winning percentage. Among Angle's accomplishments: three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) titles, four Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) championships, and a three-time NCAA All-American, winning the heavyweight title in 1990 and 1992. For all these achievements, Angle was named PSAC Wrestler of the Year three consecutive years (1990-92).

During his high school and college career, Angle also made a name for himself in freestyle competition. Angle was the 1987 USA Junior Freestyle champion, a two-time USA Senior Freestyle champion, and the 1988 USA International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles Junior World Freestyle champion.

Kurt Angle raises his arms in triumph after his win in the Olympic finals over Abbas Jadidi of Iran

After college, Angle continued his freestyle mat career. In 1995, he won a gold medal at the World Championships. One year later, Angle returned to Atlanta to earn freestyle gold at 200 pounds the 1996 Olympics in thrilling style. He dedicated his medal to his late father as well as Dave Schultz, his murdered mentor/coach.

Kurt Angle has received a number of honors for his amateur wrestling accomplishments. In 1997, he was presented with the PSAC Award of Merit (only the third recipient of this award). He has also been honored by the Pennsylvania Classic Hall of Fame, the Clarion University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. In 2001, Angle was welcomed into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. as a Distinguished Member.


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