KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wrestling champion Melvin Douglas III is an international gold medalist, two-time Olympian and one of the most accomplished freestyle wrestlers in U.S. history.
And it all started in the Kansas capital.
Douglas, a Topeka native who took up wrestling at age 13, won three straight Kansas Class 6A state titles for Highland Park High School from 1979-81.
He also won a Junior National championship in freestyle wrestling in 1981.
Douglas went on to win two NCAA titles at 177 pounds for Oklahoma from 1985-86, finishing college with a 109-19-4 career record.
But Douglas shined even brighter on the international stage, winning seven U.S. national titles and making the U.S. national team 11 times. He was enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.
He won a silver medal in the 82-kilogram weight class during the 1989 World Wrestling Championships in Martigny, Switzerland.
Four years later in Toronto, Douglas became a world champion at 90 kilograms. He followed that up with consecutive world-championship bronze medals at 90 kilograms in 1994 in Istanbul and 1995 in Atlanta.
Douglas, who made two other appearances at the world championships (1997-98) and also won a gold medal at the 1995 Pan-American Games, finished seventh in the light heavyweight division during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 18th in the heavyweight division at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
After the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, Douglas retired from international competition.
He has been inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.
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