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Waterloo Native and Former Iowa Hawkeye Chuck Yagla looks back at the Boycott that snatched his Olympic Dream

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CHUCK YAGLA 2

WATERLOO(KWWL)--The sport of wrestling has always been a big part of Chuck Yagla's life. After finishing second in the State his senior year at Waterloo Columbus in 1972…

Yagla went to Iowa where he says an assistant coach named Dan Gable changed the arc of his Wrestling career.

Chuck Yagla/Wrestling Great
"Just being around him and learning from him and watching his work ethic And how much work he could put into it he worked harder than anybody else even though he was retired at that time it was just amazing I learned a lot from that and it got me motivated to work harder"

Yagla who never won a state championship in high school…won two National Titles and the NCAA most outstanding wrestler for the Hawkeyes. Yagla had goals of being the best….and in 1980 he fulfilled a life long dream by qualifying for the Olympic Games in Moscow…and to top it off his mentor Dan Gable was the USA Wrestling head coach

But similar to what many athletes experience today….something outside of Yagla's control disrupted his opportunity.

President Jimmy Carter/Announces 1980 Olympic Boycott
"I have notified the Olympic Committee that with the Soviets invading forces in Afghanistan neither the American people nor I will support sending a team to Moscow.


Yagla said, "That was my goal for 4 years to make the United States Olympic team and to go to Moscow and win a gold medal obviously politics go involved and took away those dreams from all those athletes something I am still bitter about today probably more so that I was back then."

During a ceremony in Washington,, The United States presented the US team with Olympic Gold Medals… and Chuck Yagla says his mom gave Jimmy Carter an ear full.

Yagla says it could not make up for what he lost.

Yagla says" I tell people my biggest accomplishment as an athlete was making the United States Olympic team. And at the same time, it is also my biggest disappointment.

It is one of those things you have to understand that that is life happens and that is a challenge I have had to overcome and you just have to move forward there are other things in life it wasn't life or death that's what I tell people now with this virus I had something taken away from me through politics but it wasn't life or death for me..life went on."

Rick Coleman

Sports Director

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