Danny Hodge, a pro wrestling legend who won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Australia, has died. He was 88 years old. WWE released a statement, saying Hodge was a "true trailblazer" for winning national titles in wrestling and boxing.
"The Oklahoma native’s highly decorated career included recognition as a three-time NCAA Champion, Olympic silver medalist, National Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, and eight-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion," WWE said. There were a number of pro wrestlers to pay tribute to Hodge including William Regal.
WWE is saddened to learn that Danny Hodge passed away today at age 88. https://t.co/hKWUuiMZ7r— WWE (@WWE) December 26, 2020
"I’ve just seen the saddening news from my friend [Gerald Bisco] that the legendary Danny Hodge has passed away," Regal wrote on Twitter. "Please take the time to google this incredible man and his career both in Wrestling and Boxing. I always loved talking to him. My deepest condolences to his family." Hodge was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007. Fellow Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer (and WWE Hall of Famer) Bret "The Hitman" Hart gave a lot of praise to Hodge when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Hard to believe that my boyhood hero, riding partner, and mentor, the great #DannyHodge has passed away.December 26, 2020
"I look at Danny Hodge, he's one of the most, one of the greatest wrestlers in pro wrestling or amateur wrestling there's ever been," Hart said, as the Baltimore Sun reported. "To be in this room with Danny Hodge is a big, big honor to me." Hodge was a three-time NCAA Champion at Oklahoma before joining the pro wrestling ranks. He went 46-0 over four seasons and was a three-time conference champion. Hodge also competed in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics while winning the Silver medal in 1956."
Along with being a top wrestler, Hodge was also had a strong boxing career. He won the 1958 Chicago Golden Gloves as a heavyweight and finished his amateur career with 17 wins and no losses with 12 KOs. In his pro wrestling career, Hodge won multiple titles including the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version) three times. He made two appearances on WWE's Monday Night Raw in 2005 and 2012 in which he honored Jim Ross.