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Herman Dorin

Biography

 

Herman took up wrestling at the University of Alberta in 1949. “It was love at first fight.” From 1951 to 1966 he went undefeated in fifteen provincial competitions; first in the 177lb., then 191lb., and heavyweight classes. He competed at three national championships (1952, 1954 and 1967). Herman coached the U of A wrestling club from 1952 to 1954, and founded the Edmonton Amateur Wrestling Federation in 1954. He later formed the first school wrestling teams outside of Calgary and Edmonton - in Winfield, Bentley, Airdrie and Didsbury. From 1980 to 1984, he coached Zone 2 wrestlers for the Alberta Winter Games.

Herman grew up on a farm near Bruce, Alberta, where there were few opportunities to excel in sport. While at the U of A, Herman competed in his first wrestling provincial championship in 1950 and finished second. After his second season of wrestling at the U of A, Herman learned of the death of his coach. He found a book by a US coach and spent many hours puzzling out new holds as he strived to learn more about the sport. Herman graduated from the U of A in 1952 and received a major athlete award, the Block A Sweater, for his wrestling accomplishments.

He became a school teacher and first taught at Concordia College. Herman continued to wrestle and his provincial undefeated record during a fifteen-year period set the standard for other wrestlers in the province. He missed only one provincial championship during that time, when he lived and trained in Germany in 1954/55.

With his success at provincials, he earned his pass to the Canadian Championships. Herman’s first trip to the Canadian Championships in 1952 was also a qualifier for the Helsinki Olympic Games. In 1954, he hitch-hiked his way to Montreal to compete at the Trials for the British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games). He wrestled to a personal best with a third-place finish - and just missed qualifying for the two available spots on the Canadian team. In 1967, Herman suffered his first defeat in fifteen years at the provincial championships. With his second place finish, he qualified for the Canadian Championships in Montreal and competed in the 191lb class.

Herman also developed the sport in many communities throughout the province. In Edmonton, he created a city-wide system for wrestling and founded the Edmonton Amateur Wrestling Federation. When he left Edmonton, he taught in small rural communities much like the one that he grew up in. He formed wrestling clubs in each of the schools he taught at. He finally settled in the Didsbury area and during the 1970s taught wrestling in Didsbury and coached the Olds College team in ACAC competition.

After Herman heard that wrestling was to be included in the 1980 Alberta Winter Games in Grande Prairie, he quickly recruited some young wrestlers and took them to the Games. He returned home and developed the first wrestling club in the Zone Two region. He coached the boys for the next several years and they went on to win two gold medals and a silver medal at the 1982 Alberta Games, and a silver medal at the 1984 Alberta Games. Herman’s work in the Zone 2 area laid the foundation for what became a tremendously successful program that produced World Champions and Olympians.

Herman Dorin was a true pioneer of the sport. As an athlete, his long-time success at Provincials set the benchmark for other athletes. His development of wrestling clubs and athletes across the province left a remarkable foundation for the wrestling community.