Jack van Bebber

Jack Francis "Blackjack" Van Bebber (July 27, 1907 – April 13, 1986) was an American wrestler.

Jack van Bebber
Medal record
Men's wrestling
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Gold medal – first place 1932 Los Angeles Freestyle welterweight

Van Bebber was born and raised in Perry, Oklahoma. He attended and wrestled at Oklahoma A&M University and was a three time NCAA national champion. He was coached by Ed Gallagher. He competed at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he received a gold medal in freestyle welterweight.[1]

He was severely injured in a wagon accident as a child but his attitude and perseverance won out. Before his death, he was named one of the ten greatest amateur athletes in the western hemisphere for the first half of the 20th century. He was one of the initial inductees as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He once wrestled Frank Phillips (founder of Phillips 66) at his home in Bartlesville, OK.

Further readingEdit

  • A Distant Flame: The Inspiring Story of Jack VanBebber's Quest for a World Olympic Title, tells more about his life.


  1. ^ "1932 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles, United States – Wrestling" Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback MachinedatabaseOlympics.com (Retrieved on April 28, 2008)