The Outstanding American Award is given to an individual who has used the disciplines of wrestling to launch notable careers in other areas of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and society. military, the arts and the humanities.
This year’s winner is Mario Lopez, who wrestled for Chula Vista High School, finishing second in the San Diego Section and seventh in the California Interscholastic Federation State Tournament as a senior in a single class in California in 1991.
He began wrestling under Mexican Olympian Gabriel Ruiz. His high school coach was Bill Virchis, who not only coached Chula Vista to a Metro League championship, but was also one of the founding fathers of Chicano theater and one of the most important performing arts educators in the world. San Diego County.
Mario had wrestling aspirations at Arizona State under Bobby Douglas, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Other wrestling idols include John Smith and Dan Gable, both distinguished members.
Since his breakout role in 1989’s “Saved by the Bell,” he’s become a movie actor, New York Times bestselling author, producer, host, and two-time Emmy winner. His prolific career has made him one of the most sought after personalities in the entertainment world today. He currently hosts “Access Hollywood” and “Access Daily” on NBC, as well as the national radio show “On with Mario.”
His charitable efforts include: A Dog’s Life Rescue, Best Friends Animal Society, Boys & Girls Clubs, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Feeding America, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Ronald McDonald House Charities, among others.
Mario says wrestling taught him that there are no shortcuts and that you have to be disciplined and consistent while working hard, staying focused and doing the right thing. These virtues played a determining role throughout his life.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is proud to honor Mario Lopez as Outstanding American of 2022.