Class of 2002
University Of Illinois
He was a product of the Twenties, often called the Golden Age of Sport. In his bried but brilliant career, cut short by a life-threatening injury, Allie Morrison scaled heights of which others can but dream.
In 1928, he won a gold medal in the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, despite the worst possible draw. After defeating a wrestler from Belgium, Morrison faced Kustaa Pihlajam of Finland, the only defending champion in the field. A four-time Olympian and three-time medalist, the Finn still is regarded as one of the best European wrestlers of all time.
The Olympic format called for best-of-three competition, but Morrison polished qff the favorite in two straight, then defeated Hans Minder of Switzerland for a run of six straight victories and the championship
At the University of Illinois, Allie Morrison was undefeated for three years and won half his matches by fall. During his junior year, on March 2, 1929, he suffered broken vertebrae in his neck in a match with the University of Chicago. He won that match and others that followed, but finally was forced to retire or risk paralysis. After college, Allie coached high school sports in Omaha, leading his wrestlers to four state championships in five years. After service in World War II, he entered private business.
A native of Marshalltown, Iowa, Morrison was that state’s first Olympic gold medalist in any sport, and the first state high school wrestling champion in the United State to progress to an Olympic gold. As a high school sophomore, he competed in the U.S. Olympic trials, but lost to the eventual champion. It was the only defeat of his career. Morrison won three National AAU titles, starting in 1926 as a high school senior.
After winning two state prep titles, Morrison was too old at 21 to compete as a senior. With the help of a faculty advisor, Morrison coached Marshalltown to a third straight state championship. The advisor was Adolph Rupp, who later became a coaching legend in basketball.
As a wrestler of incredible achievement, Allie Roy Morrison was honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993.