Swimming (1 gold, 2 silver)
|400 m Free-style||gold||6400|
|1500 m Free-style||silver||4000|
|4 x 200 m Free-style Relay||silver||1000|
B. 1937-09-16, Belaya Tserkov, Ukraine
Wrestling Free-style (3 gold)
|Light Heavyweight (-97 kg)||gold||57600|
|Heavyweight (+97 kg)||gold|
|Heavyweight (+100 kg)||gold|
His performance in becoming the first man to win wrestling gold medals at
three Olympics makes him one of the greatest wrestlers in history. Between
1962 and his retirement after the Games of 1972 he lost the Olympic or World
title only on one occasion - the 1965 World Championships we he drew with
Ahmer Ayik (TUR) and conceded the gold medal on fewer bad marks.
What made his career even more remarkable was that he rarely weighed more than 105kg and sometimes fought competitors more than 60kg heavier than himself. Yet his deft armoury of attacks and sudden evasions enabled him to outmanoeuvre more bruly opponents.
He was initially a light-heavyweight, taking the gold medal at Tokyo. Two years later he moved up to heavyweight. At Mexico City, he was helped by an injury to his leading rival, Wilfried Dietrich (GER). In München he had to use all his experience to keep clear of the formidable strength of Chris Taylor (USA) who weighed 190kg. Although the second lightest man in his class, he retained his title. He then announced his retirement by ceremoniously kissing the mat.
He performed the oath for judges at the Moskva Olympics.
Written 2000-11-30 - last modified 2011-08-13
This page is part of the site "Full Olympians" by Herman De Wael. See here for a full Introduction.