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He is probably the toughest man who ever lived!
His opponents, who weighed 150 kilos, were terribly afraid of him, so that no one wanted to enter a ring with him. In fact, nobody wanted to be near him. Because of his eyes, his cold, steely glaze… Anyone who saw him once lost the match, and a part of soul.
“Nobody likes flying”, he said once when asked how wrestlers feel when they find themselves face to face with him. “My opponents… They don't understand. I used to train every day like they had never trained in their life”.
Alexander Karelin is the champion in the history of wrestling. He is 192 cm tall, 130 kg of pure muscles, agile as a panther, and equally powerful and merciless. This Russian has won three Olympic gold medals, nine World Champions and twelve European Champions.
During his 13-year international career he was defeated only once, because he was seriously injured, in the finals of the Olympic Games in Sydney. He wrestled 889 times. He won 887 times, and lost two times.
He lost one match to the world champion, Igor Rostorotsky in 1987, and the other one to an American Rulon Gardner, at the 2000 Olympics. However, the biggest part of wrestling public agrees that Karelin should have won that match, which he lost due to points.
- There is something you should know about Karelin - said Mitch Hull, the National Teams Director for USA Wrestling,, -his power… That is not a human power.
He started wrestling at the age of 13 in his hometown Novosibirsk in the heart of Siberia. In one of his first competitions, he broke his thigh bone in half. His mother was so scared that she burnt his wrestling suit. Karelin's response to that was: “Mom, I can't leave the sport that I gave my leg to”.
He decided to fight, to become the strongest. Naked from the waist up, he would go for a run in snow for hours. After the run, he would paddle in the Siberian lakes until his hands bled. He was doing this for years.
This is how he got into condition, and gained power that nobody could ever have.
In Novosibirsk he met his “toughest opponent in his career”, as he used to say: his folks bought a freezer, the old and big Soviet model, 180 kilos heavy, and there were no elevator in the building.
– I took it to the eight floor in my hands. I don't know how I did it – said Karelin on one occasion
Karelin was famous for his “Karelin lift”, a move that only he could make (heavyweight): |He would hoist the opponent (weighing up to 150 kilos) who was lying flat into the air and slammed him violently to the mat. This throw awarded Karelin the maximum- 5 points (in Greco-Roman wrestling).
This has never been seen in wrestling.
During his wrestling career, Karelin fought in only one MMA match, against Japanese Akira Maeda. It was smashing just to see helpless Maeda, a superior master of marital arts, against Karelin. The Russian was throwing him around the ring like a doll, he did what he wanted with him and he did it with a big smile.
- If he had decided to fight in MMA, Karelin would be far above others - Fedor Emelianenko, said, the biggest MMA fighter in history.
Karelin retired from wrestling after the defeat in the 2000 Olympics. He devoted himself to science, and in 2002 he received a PhD in pedagogy from the Siberian Academy of Physical Culture . Upon invitation from Vladimir Putin, in 1999 he began his political career. He was elected to the Duma several times, and today he is a member of the Russian Parliament's committee on international affairs.