KOTA News Extra: Passion for Gold - KOTA Territory News

KOTA News Extra: Passion for Gold


by Helene Duhamel

Even today, in every workout, Rapid City's Randy Lewis demands nothing but his best. 

"Every time I stepped out on the mat, I knew I was in better shape than the other guy.  I knew I was stronger," said Lewis. 

This Olympic success story started over 40 years ago, Randy was a 5th grader.  He had already picked his sport and set his goal.
"My sport was going to be wrestling.  I knew I was going to be an Olympic champion.  My Dad and I put together a plan.  I did the things you need to do. I get emotional anytime I talk about it still," said Lewis.

Looking at the many scrap books and talking about the Olympic experience, chokes up this state, national and World Champion and Gold Medalist. "I loved it. I dreamed it, never wavered, overcame obstacles.  It's a lot like life, wrestling is."

Just days before his 21st birthday, Randy was the youngest member to be named to the 1980 Olympic team, only to have politics prevent the U.S. from competing. President Jimmy Carter boycotted the Moscow Games.

"I thought Ok, I'll just win next time, and win the world's the next year," said Lewis. 

But over the next four years, Randy had new obstacles.  "I had a bunch of injuries and I lost confidence."

Then more international politics, the Soviets announced they'll stay home and boycott the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.  But Randy explained that he was just so happy to make the Olympic team and finally be able to compete in the Olympics, "I didn't care the Soviets weren't there."

Randy went into the 1984 Olympics heavily favored and ready to win the gold, a victory that was not tarnished by the absence of the Russians because he had the chance to wrestle his rival, reigning world champion, Viktor Alexeev of the Soviet Union, in a duel in Rapid City in 1980.   Randy explained, "I wrestled 13 different wrestlers who were world champions or medallists at 136 pounds in the 1980s, and I had beaten all 13."

30 years later, there is still something special about this Olympic champion, who now owns Anytime Fitness. Working out, you get a glimpse of a man who still demands perfection of himself in every workout, just as he did all those years ago. 

"Looking back, could I have worked harder?  I don't think so.  Could I have done any better?  No.  I know I did my absolute best," said Lewis.

The Olympics will always be a special event for Randy.  He'll be watching and rooting for athletes. "I get so excited watching the Olympics, and watching other athletes achieve their dreams."
Gold medal are very rare in KOTA Territory. Only 2 people in South Dakota's history are Olympic champions - Rapid City wrestler Randy Lewis, and Pine Ridge Runner Billy Mills. In Wyoming, Afton wrestler Rulon Gardner took home the gold.

Powered by WorldNow

518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - WorldNow and KOTA. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.