WWE History Vol. 4: The Olympians

Kurt Angle, so far the only Olympic gold medalist in amateur wrestling to work in WWE.
Kurt Angle, so far the only Olympic gold medalist in amateur wrestling to work in WWE.

Before the dawn of the modern age, the original Olympics were held in Athens, Greece. The events included wrestling, chariot-riding, archery, and pancreas, an early precursor to what we call Mixed Martial Arts.

While many things have changed about the Olympics over the many years of their existence--for example, the competition used to be for men only, and those men competed bare naked--one thing has remained the same; The Olympics is a place for the most elite athletes in the world to display their talent for an appreciative audience.

If you're wondering just how hard it is to get chosen for an Olympic spot, consider this. Less than .0013% of amateur athletes ever make the cut. Those are worse odds than becoming a professional athlete in any sport you'd care to name, from major league baseball to cricket.

The WWE is also home to some of the most elite athletes, and a select few have also been proud to be involved in the Olympics.

Here are eight WWE Superstars who are former Olympians, and some of the names might surprise you.

#1 Giant Gonzales

Giant Gonzales, RIP
Giant Gonzales, RIP

Our first Olympian in our retrospective is none other than Giant Gonzales. The towering Gonzales was taller than Andre the Giant but lacked the latter's charisma and presence.

Born Jorge Gonzales in Argentina, he represented his native country in the 1988 Olympics, competing in basketball though he failed to earn a medal.

After spotting him at the Olympic games, Ted Turner offered Gonzales a contract with his burgeoning World Championship Wrestling promotion. Dubbed El Gigante, he feuded with the Four Horsemen, frequently teaming up with Sting and Brian Pillman to take on the villainous group.

Gonzales would jump to the WWE a few years later, where he became one of The Undertaker's victims during his legendary streak. Most fans remember Gonzales for his tacky fake muscle leotard, but to be honest, he wasn't the best in-ring performer.

Health problems forced him to retire and led to his eventual death. He never won a title in WWE, but PWI did name his and Undertaker's feud, the worst of the year.

Gonzales used chloroform to to knock out the Undertaker and was hence disqualified from his match, giving the phenom another Wrestlemania victory. It is interesting to note that the former remained the closest wrestler to beat the Undertaker before Lesnar ended the Deadman's streak.

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Edited by Israel Lutete
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