Bad News on his judo bronze medal
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
Allen Coage has some Bad News to share. He doesn't have his Olympic
bronze medal anymore.
Bad News Allen
It's hanging on the wall at the Crawford Judo & Karate Center in New
Jersey, his old coach's dojo. Despite the fact that he would like to
show it off on occasion, Coage is proud of his accomplishments, and his
association with the Center. "Our dojo in the United States sent more
guys to the Olympics than any other school."
Though wrestling fans will remember the tough-talking Coage as Bad News
Allen or Bad News Brown, he had an incredibly successful judo career
before ever stepping into the squared circle.
Before ever making the Olympics, Coage compete for the U.S. in two
Pan-Am Games, the unofficial "dress rehearsal" for the Games.
He made the U.S. judo team and went to Montreal in 1976 to compete.
"I thought that was the pinnacle of my judo career, to train all those
years just to get there was, I thought, quite a feat," said Coage. "Even
though the American officials in judo tried to keep me off the team. I
wound up going to the Olympic trials and I beat everybody and I made the
team, so there was nothing they could do about it."
During the lead-up to the Games, the amateur wrestlers and judo
competitors were housed in one practice facility, with the gym
partitioned down the middle. It was there that Coage met another future
pro wrestler, Brad Rhengians from Minnesota.
SLAM! Sports covers The Games
Earl McCready, 1928|
Mad Dog Vachon, 1948
Danny Hodge, 1952, 1956
Dale Lewis, 1956, 1960
Bob Roop, 1968
Chris Taylor, 1972
Bad News Allen, 1976
Brad Rheingans, 1976
Mark Henry, 1992, 1996
Kurt Angle, 1996
The other Olympians
The closeness of the two disciplines were good preparation for the
Olympic Village in Montreal. "You pretty much learn to mix with
everybody, it doesn't matter. If the politicians would just follow along
with what the athletes would do, we'd all have gotten along well," said
Coage. "Even if they're somebody that you're competing against, you
still try to get to know what they're about."
Coage recalled that the opening ceremonies in Olympic Stadium were
"really nice". But he skipped the closing ceremonies, still sore at his
third-place finish, and he regrets that today.
The bronze medal still stings him a little. "I trained all those years
to get a gold medal," he said matter-of-factly.
Allen Coage was a heavyweight in judo, competing in the over 93 kg / 205
pound range. He was put in Pool B, and fought a German named Günther
"I lost on a split-decision. I was really disappointed with that. I
actually felt that I had won. A few months later, people showed me the
film of the match, and I thought that I had one. Everybody else thought
I won," he recalled.
So Coage went to the consolation match for the bronze medal, and Neureuther won silver. "I figured,
what the heck, I'm here anyways, I'm going to get me a medal no matter
Looking back at the 24 years that have passed since the Montreal Games,
Coage can be philosophical about his experiences, and definitely
appreciates what he accomplished more today than he did then.
"I enjoyed it," he said of his Olympic experiences. "It was something
that I had trained hard for for many years and when I finally made it, I
was going to make the best of it that I could."