First Important Match
Meeting Farmer Burns
Off to Alaska
His Two Greatest Foes
Frank Gotch, Superstar
At His Peak
Meeting Top Celebreties
His Fame Endured
Others' Words on Gotch
At His Peak
Frank stood 5 feet and eleven inches tall at his peak, and weighed 210 pounds.
He weighed 195 when he began competing as a professional in 1899 but continued to
add muscular weight for the next decade and a half. He was very strong, basically
from hard work on the farm as a lad and from a very good genetical base (his three
brothers were also powerful men). He worked with wall pulleys to some degree, but
never lifted weights, as did Hackenschmidt. Frank played a lot of handball to help
increase his speed and reflexes, and believed in running. While preparing for his
matches with Hackenschmidt, he would go on 5 to 10 mile runs through the gently
sloping hills around Humboldt.
Here's how George Barton, sports editor of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune and
the No. 1 wrestling writer of his era, described Gotch: He was "a remarkable physical
specimen. He was tremendously strong, amazingly fast and catlike in movements. Frank
was master of all holds on offense and blocks for these holds on defense. He also
mastered leverage to the nth degree and was the last word in courage."
According to most experts, Gotch had three qualities which separated him from the other
great wrestlers: (1) his quickness, (2) his understanding of technique, basically from
years of training with Farmer Burns, and (3) his incredible endurance. He never seemed
to tire out, against any foe.