Mike “The Big Greek” Dorizas was an athlete whose career as Penn’s strongman on the gridiron, track and especially on the wrestling mat was of mythical proportion.  One newspaper ran a story saying that “his thigh is 29 inches, equal to the girth of th average freshman matriculate at the University of Pennsylvania.”  Another story tells of a grudge-match between a Penn State wrestler and Dorizas, which filled Weightman Gym with spectators, where Dorizas took three minutes, 50 seconds to pin his opponent--the longest bout of his career.


There is much truth to these stories, evidenced by the fact that Dorizas was a three-time U.S. Intercollegiate heavyweight wrestling champion, who used a mere four minutes, 20 seconds to defeat all six men he faced in winning those three titles.  He never lost a single intercollegiate bout on the mat, averaging less than one minute to pin his oppoient in each of his twenty victories.  At one point, he smashed Penn’s strength record, leading to him being dubbed the “Strongest Man in the World.”


Dorizas was a two-time Olympian, competing in 1908 and 1912.  In 1914, he broke the collegiate javelin record with a throw of 169 feet, 6 ¼ inches, which earned him All-America status.  On the football field, he played the tackle position.