June 5, 2009
STILLWATER, Okla. — The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum will host its 33rd annual Honors Weekend culminating in the Induction Ceremony on June 5-6 in Stillwater, Okla. Honored will be the Class of 2009 inductees in the categories of Distinguished Member, Outstanding American, Order of Merit, Medal of Courage and Lifetime Achievement for Officials.
The late Peter Blair will be inducted as a Distinguished Member. A Distinguished Member is a wrestler who has achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition, a coach who has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and has compiled an outstanding record, a contributor whose long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport, or any combination of the above qualifications.
Those seeking information can contact Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling at 719-659-9637 cell.
Peter Blair – Distinguished Member
He never made his high school team, but by the time he graduated from college, Peter Steele Blair, known as “Destroyer,” had achieved the heights in the sport of wrestling.
A 5-foot-6 inch lightweight, Blair couldn’t make the lineup for Billy Martin’s Granby High School in Norfolk, Va. Upon graduating at age 16, he joined the U.S. Navy and was chosen to attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Md. By the end of the next two years, he had grown over seven inches and made a name for himself, going undefeated at 177 pounds.
Success followed him to the U.S. Naval Academy, where in four years on the varsity team, he lost only five matches. A 177-pounder as a freshman and sophomore, Blair moved up to 191 pounds and won back-to-back NCAA championships in 1954 and 1955. His final record as a Midshipman was 57-5 with 31 falls. Known to his teammates as a “master of leverage and balance” with a “grip of steel,” he captained the team as a senior and earned the Naval Academy’s prestigious Thompson Award as the midshipman who contributed most to the promotion of athletics.
But he wasn’t finished yet.
After commissioning, Ensign Blair remained at the Academy to train for the 1956 Olympic Trials. In the AAU National Freestyle Championships, he pinned five consecutive opponents to capture the title. Two weeks later, he earned a berth on the team bound for Melbourne. As captain of the Olympic team, Blair won a bronze medal losing on points to eventual champion Gholam Takhti of Iran and to silver medalist Boris Koulaev of Russia.
Blair served his country on submarines, ships and in Academy classrooms, retiring with the rank of Commander in 1974. He joined Pacific Ordinance and Electronics and managed company activities in Tsoying, Taiwan and Rio de Janeiro. In 1981, he joined Marinette Marine Shipyard and worked his way to vice president of marketing. He passed away on June 29, 1994, after a brief battle with cancer.
As a man who served both his sport and his country with distinction, Peter Steele Blair is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
### Go Navy ###