Forest Lake legislator: Keep wrestling in Olympic Games

by Howard Lestrud

ECM Political Editor

Wrestling continues to be in Rep. Bob Dettmer’s blood.

Rep. Bob Dettmer
Rep. Bob Dettmer

The Forest Lake Republican legislator coached high school wrestling in Forest Lake for more than 30 years. He is now in his fourth term of wrestling with issues at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

A House resolution sponsored by Dettmer calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider its decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. The resolution was signed by House Speaker Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Rep. Erin Murphy.

The resolution comes as many state governments throughout the U.S. and officials from various nations around the world issue similar announcements of their opposition to the ruling.

In addition to Minnesota’s strong ties to the sport, the resolution makes note of the United States as a major contender in international wrestling competition, especially the Olympic Games, with 124 medals having been awarded to the U.S. throughout history. Because of the enormous repercussions for local Minnesota athletes and the U.S. position on the world stage, the bipartisan resolution asks the IOC to reverse its decision as soon as possible.

Dettmer gained support for the resolution from longtime University of Minnesota coach Jay Robinson and from Dan Chandler, four-time Olympian who wrestled for Anoka High School.

Dettmer served as the head wrestling coach at Forest Lake High School 1975 to 2007 and was a star wrestler at Faribault High School and at Bemidji State University. He also wrestled in the 1972 Olympic Trials, losing to eventual gold medalist Dan Gable. As Forest Lake’s head coach, he accumulated a 399-144-2 record. This record ranks him as 25th out of 321 high school wrestling coaches in Minnesota.

Dettmer also has received numerous awards as an athlete and as a coach. A few are NAIA National Wrestling Champion, NAIA Hall of Fame, Bemidji State Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame, David Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame and both High School and College “Athlete of the Year” awards. He currently officiates high school wrestling matches for the Minnesota State High School League.

This legislative session, Dettmer is carrying veterans benefits legislation. He is a retired U.S. Army officer. He and his two sons served in Iraq during the Iraq War.


Howard Lestrud can be reached at [email protected]