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Aleksandr Karelin

Full name: Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Karelin
Original name: Александр Александрович Карелин
Gender: Male
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
Weight: 218 lbs (99 kg)
Born: September 19, 1967 in Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk, Russia
Affiliations: Dynamo Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk (RUS)
Country: URS Soviet Union, EUN Unified Team, RUS Russia
Sport: Wrestling

Medals: 3 Gold, 1 Silver (4 Total)

Biography

Known by a variety of nicknames – "Russian Bear," "Alexander the Great," and "The Experiment" – Aleksandr Karelin is universally considered the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time. He is one of only four men to have won three Olympic gold medals in wrestling (the others being Ivar Johansson, SWE, Aleksandr Medved, URS, and Carl Westergren, SWE). A frighteningly strong man, he won his first gold medal in 1988 in the super-heavyweight Greco-Roman class, competing for the Soviet Union. He defended that title in 1992, competing for the Unified Team, and in 1996, wrestled for Russia. Karelin was also favored to win his fourth consecutive gold medal in 2000 but, in a major upset, he lost in the final, 1-0, to unheralded American Rulon Gardner. Before this loss, Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years, his last defeat being to Igor Rostorotsky at the 1987 Soviet Championships, and had not lost a point in a match in six years.

Karelin took up wrestling in 1980 and made the Soviet national team in 1987 after winning the World Junior Championships in 1985 and 1987 and the European Junior Championships in 1986. In addition to his Olympic medals, Karelin, who competed in Greco-Roman super-heavyweight class his entire career, was World Champion in 1989-91, 1993-95, and 1997-99. His 12 championships in the Olympic and World events are the most ever, breaking the mark held by Medved. He also won European titles from 1988-96 and 1998-2000 and the 1987 World Cup and was a 13-time Soviet, CIS and Russian champion from 1988-2000. In 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1994, Karelin was elected as the best wrestler of the year and he carried the Soviet flag in 1988, the Unified Team’s flag in 1992, and the Russian flag at the 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. He was also twice named the best Russian athlete of the year.

Karelin retired from sports after the 2000 Olympics and graduated from the Siberian Academy of Physical Culture with a Ph.D. in pedagogy in 2002. From 1995-99 Karelin worked with the Russian police force (militsiya) and, in 1999, was invited into politics by Russian president Vladimir Putin. Joining the United Russia party, Karelin was elected as a member of the Russian parliament (Duma) in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011. In 2007 he became a member of the Duma's committee on international affairs. In 2003 Karelin was one of the first 10 inductees elected to the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame. Since 1992, an annual wrestling tournament in his honor has been held in Novosibirsk.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Men's Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Soviet Union URS 1 Gold
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Men's Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Unified Team EUN 1 Gold
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Men's Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Russia RUS 1 Gold
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Men's Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Russia RUS 2 Silver

Men's Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result CP MR TP W L
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Final Standings 1 1988-09-20
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Final Round Match 1/2 1 1988-09-21 Karelin (URS) decision (5-3), Gerovski (BUL)
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Four 1 1988-09-21 13,5
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Four Match #2 1 1988-09-21 Karelin (URS) decision (15-0) (2:23), Koslowski (USA) 3,5
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Three 1 1988-09-21 10,0
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Three Match #2 1 1988-09-21 Karelin (URS) fall (4:10), Neumüller (AUT) 4,0
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Two 2 1988-09-20 6,0
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round Two Match #3 1 1988-09-20 Karelin (URS) passivity (4:43), Klauz (HUN) 3,0
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round One 2T 1988-09-20 3,0
1988 Summer 20 Seoul Wrestling Soviet Union URS Group A - Round One Match #4 1 1988-09-20 Karelin (URS) passivity (4:00), Johansson (SWE) 3,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Final Standings 1 1992-07-27
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Final Round Match 1/2 1 1992-07-29 Karelin (EUN) fall (1:33), Johansson (SWE)
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Five 1 1992-07-28 15,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Five Match #1 1 1992-07-28 Karelin (EUN) fall (0:14), Grigoraş (ROU) 4,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Four 2 1992-07-28 11,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Four Match #2 AC 1992-07-28 Karelin (EUN) 0,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Three 1 1992-07-27 11,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Three Match #2 1 1992-07-27 Karelin (EUN) decision (8-1), Ahokas (FIN) 3,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Two 1 1992-07-27 8,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round Two Match #2 1 1992-07-27 Karelin (EUN) fall (2:15), Mesa (CUB) 4,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round One 1T 1992-07-27 4,0
1992 Summer 24 Barcelona Wrestling Unified Team EUN Group A - Round One Match #1 1 1992-07-27 Karelin (EUN) fall (1:30), Borodow (CAN) 4,0
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Final Standings 1 1996-07-21
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Final Round Match 1/2 1 1996-07-22 Karelin (RUS) decision (1-0) (8:00), Ghaffari (USA) 1
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Semi-Finals Match #1 1 1996-07-22 Karelin (RUS) fall (8-0) (2:59), Poikilidis (GRE) 8
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Quarter-Finals Match #1 1 1996-07-22 Karelin (RUS) fall (4-0) (3:28), Ahokas (FIN) 4
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Round Two Match #2 1 1996-07-21 Karelin (RUS) decision (2-0) (8:00), Mureico (MDA) 2
1996 Summer 28 Atlanta Wrestling Russia RUS Round One Match #2 1 1996-07-21 Karelin (RUS) grand superiority (10-0) (1:49), Ayari (TUN) 10
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Final Standings 2 2000-09-25
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Final Round Match 1/2 2 2000-09-27 Gardner (USA) decision (1-0) (9:00), Karelin (RUS) 0
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Semi-finals Match #1 1 2000-09-27 Karelin (RUS) decision (3-0) (6:00), Debelka (BLR) 3
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Quarter-finals Match #2 1 2000-09-27 Karelin (RUS) decision (4-0) (6:00), Soldadze (UKR) 4
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Round One Pool Four 1 7 6 2 0
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Round One Pool Four Match #1 1 Karelin (RUS) fall (3-0) (1:48), Deák-Bárdos (HUN) 3
2000 Summer 32 Sydney Wrestling Russia RUS Round One Pool Four Match #2 1 Karelin (RUS) decision (3-0) (6:00), Mureico (BUL) 3