Charles Ackerly

Charles Ackerly

Born January 3, 1898 in Cuba, New York

Attended Cornell University

Resided in Florida. Passed away on August 16, 1982 in Clearwater, Florida

Athletic Career:

  • Attended Cuba High School class of 1916. Class president and valedictorian
  • Placed 2nd, 1st, and 2nd in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association competition
  • Won freestyle wrestling gold at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, competing at 132 pounds.
  • Was the only American wrestler to win individual gold during those Olympics.
  • Was given a hero’s welcome in Cuba on his return home from Antwerp
  • Defeated Penn’s Sam Gerson (the only wrestler to have ever defeated him in a match) for gold, avenging his 1920 EIWA title loss.
  • Wrestling at 115 pounds, defeated Gerson in the 1919 EIWA semis on his way to the title.
  • Captain of Cornell wrestling team during his senior year.
  • After graduating from Cornell, attended Detroit College of Law, practicing at the law office of his uncle. He would retire to Clearwater, Fla where he died in 1982.
  • Inducted into the Helms Foundation National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1960
  • Inducted into Cornell’s Hall of Fame in 1981.

As an aside: Was featured in a 1940 Ripley Believe It or Not article describing how he became drunk on water. He went without water for three days in an attempt to lose ten pounds so that he could make the Olympic Wrestling team. After being successful, he immediately drank a large quantity of water which caused him to be inflicted with all of the symptoms of an intoxicated person.