This article was written by Claremore Museum of History Board of Directors Chairman, Steve Robinson on May 7, 2023.
Frank Lewis (December 6, 1912 – August 16, 1998) was an American wrestler and Olympic Champion. He competed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he received a gold medal in freestyle welterweight.
Franklin was born in Coleman, Texas and raised in Cushing, Oklahoma. In high school, he won an Oklahoma wrestling state championship in 1929. He wrestled collegiately at Oklahoma State (then called Oklahoma A&M). As a Cowboy, Lewis compiled an overall record of 45-5. Lewis was an NCAA runner-up in 1934 and the NCAA champion in 1935 at 155 pounds, while also being named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the event.
Following college, he earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling team, winning a gold medal in the welterweight division at the 1936 Olympic Games. Frank Lewis was the only American to win a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics, but he did it in an odd manner. Due to the scoring by bad points, Lewis earned the gold medal over Sweden’s Thure Andersson, even though Andersson pinned Lewis in their only match. Lewis was a deserving champion.
In 1979, Lewis was inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member. Lewis later became an independent oil producer in his native Oklahoma.