Robert Friedrich, who devoted a lifetime to the sport of wrestling, claims Nekoosa as his boyhood home. Born in 1890, he began his wrestling career at the age of sixteen when he challenged another local rival to raise funds for his baseball team. While Assistant Athletic Director at Kentucky University, he studied anatomy, thereby learning which nerve centers he might apply pressure to and thereby gain an advantage over his opponents. He gave to the sport of wrestling a scientific study which it had never before known.
Adopting the name Strangler Lewis, he is the only man to be recognized on five different occasions as heavyweight champion of the world. For twenty years he challenged and defeated all contenders. His greatest asset was his famed headlock which he pitted against Joe Stecher's famed scissors hold, to capture the crown in 1920.
He retired to a life of youth work, devoting his time to working with underprivileged boys.
A member of the Athletic Hall of Fame, Lewis's name is carved in the record books along with other great names like Hackenschmidt, Londos, Stecher, and Caddock.