The Karelin style
Although the man celebrates his 40th birthday today, his sporting achievements are already mythical. For Alexandr Karelin, wrestling is like a poem: “Everybody’s reciting the same thing, but each thinks about it differently. How each line or each motion should be interpreted is entirely personal.” His own interpretation is characterised by a strongman’s body, unstoppable holds, total domination for 13 years, and three Olympic gold medals in a row, followed by a silver, in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Built for wrestling
Every exceptional man has an exceptional story. Karelin’s began in Novosibirsk in 1967. As a new-born baby, he weighed close to seven kilos! It was an extraordinary weight that was a hint of what he would later use to bear down on his future opponents. He discovered wrestling at the age of 14. Little by little, through strict training, he turned his body into a solid fortress, soon capable of unsettling the most experienced wrestlers. In 1987 when he was selected for the national Soviet Union team, the Olympic podium awaited him: one year later, he snapped up the gold in Seoul with his first participation in the Games. In the final, although he was losing, he turned the situation around when he flipped his opponent thereby taking the match. The same happened again in 1992 at the Barcelona Games, where his power once again led him to victory, and again in 1996 in Atlanta. In 2000 in Sydney, it was the USA’s Rulon Gardner who finally overcame the giant of Siberia in the final.
Alongside his impressive Olympic career, Alexandr Karelin won nine gold medals at the World Championships between 1989 and 1999. His defeat at the Sydney Games, which still saw him leaving Australia with the silver medal, was the only hitch in an uninterrupted succession of victories in international competition from 1987.
At over 1.90m tall and weighing around 130 kilos, Karelin competed in the super-heavyweight category. Greco-Roman wrestling, unlike freestyle wrestling, requires wrestlers to attack only with their arms and the top of their body and to make no holds below the belt. The capacity to lift one’s opponents to throw them to the floor thus proves to be very important. Karelin’s impressive strength allowed him to uproot even the heftiest opponents and quickly take the advantage in matches. The strength of the giant from the steppes was also useful to him off the wrestling mat, such as when he carried a refrigerator up to his apartment on the eighth floor.
Karelin found in wrestling a way of making his talents fruitful. In return, he gave to this discipline a style and an aura of a champion. In 2001, he received the Olympic Order from Juan Antonio Samaranch, then President of the International Olympic Committee. With this, the wrestler entered the hall of fame of outstanding athletes at the same time as judoka David Douillet, weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu and sprinter Cathy Freeman.
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.