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Aleksandr Medved named 'Great Wrestler' by FILA

Aleksandr Medved (born 16 September 1937) is a retired Soviet freestyle wrestler and was named "one of the greatest wrestlers in history" by FILA, the sport's governing body.

Aleksandr Medved

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Feb 2021 11:46 AM GMT

Aleksandr Medved (born 16 September 1937) is a retired Soviet freestyle wrestler and was named "one of the greatest wrestlers in history" by FILA, the sport's governing body. Between 1962 and 1972 he won three Olympic gold medals, seven world, and three European titles. He served as the Olympic flag bearer for the Soviet Union in 1972 and recited the Judge's Oath at the Opening Ceremony of the 1980 Olympics.

According to Medved, his grandparents came from Russia; his grandmother was ca. 195 cm and his grandfather was even taller. Medved was smaller, at 190 cm and 100+ kg, yet big enough to fit into his last name, which means bear in Russian.

Between 1967 and 1972 Medved had a rivalry with Bulgarian wrestler Osman Duraliev. They met eight times in the finals of major international championships and Medved won on all occasions. He was close to losing at the 1971 World Championships in Sofia, where Duraliev led the match 4:3 with 43 seconds left. Yet Medved equalized the score and won the title because of his lower body weight.

After retiring from competitions in 1972 Medved moved to Byelorussian SSR, where he served with the Soviet Army in the late 1950s. There he worked as a national coach and lectured at the Minsk University of Radioelectronics. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, he was appointed as vice-president of the Belarus Olympic Committee and of the Belarus Wrestling Federation. Previously he was awarded the Order of Lenin (1964), Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1970), and Order of the Badge of Honour (1964, 1969, 1985). In 2001 he was chosen as the best Belorussian athlete of the 20th century and in 2003 became one of the first 10 inductees to the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is an honored citizen of Minsk, where since the 1970s an annual wrestling tournament is held in his honor.

Medved is married to Tatyana, they have a daughter Elena and son Aleksei. Elena was a Belarusian tennis champion, while Aleksei won a junior world title in wrestling in 1987

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