Friday, July 27, 2012

Since the Olympics are on, I fondly recall my favorite Olympians.

One of those was respectfully known as The Experiment.

 The all time world champion in Greco Roman wrestling, the most dominant wrestler, literally, since Hercules, I present the amazing Alexsandr Karelin.

The Experiment won every match he entered for 13 straight years, and went six without anyone scoring a single point against him.

Karelin was famous for his reverse body lift, the "Karelin Lift", where facing the opponent who was lying flat on the mat to keep from being thrown, Karelin hoisted his opponents into the air and slammed them violently to the mat. This devastatingly effective maneuver, when properly executed, awarded Karelin 5 points per throw, the maximum awarded in Greco-Roman wrestling. The throw had long been in use by lighter wrestlers but not by heavyweights since the technique required immense strength. Karelin's ability to perform this throw against elite opponents weighing as much as 130 kg was amazing to audiences as well as other participants and observers of the sport.

Asked how he gained his impressive strength, he famously said, "I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs."

Weighing in at 15 pounds at birth in Siberia, he was one of the biggest babies seen in his Oblast.  Beginning his wrestling career at age 13, everything was going well until two years later when during a match he snapped his femur.  The injury was so horrific that his own mother burned his wrestling gear and forbade him from competing ever again.  But The Experiment was not to be stopped, even by his mamma.  He rehabbed himself by running through the Siberian snow, and tossing a wooden rowboat repeatedly until his hands bled.

Once, in Russia, he bear hugged a fridge he had purchased and carried it up eight flights of stairs to his apartment.  

The Experiment's personal policy was to immediately consent to a drug test whenever anyone asked, to prove his amazing body was his own creation, and not the product of pharmacy.  He never failed a test. 

However, Karelin is no fool.  He has a law degree and a PhD.   He has also been elected to the Russian government by his home region. 

Alexandr Karelin, an amazing athlete.


  1. And then he met up with an American fridge named Rulon Gardener and history was made.

    1. Not only that, Karelin ( who was getting old for the sport anyway), retired right then and there, taking off his shoes and placing them in the ring, the traditional sign in this sport for retirement. I watched this match, and the loss left Karelin despondent, but hey, sooner or later someone was going to figure a way around his technique, and that someone was a farm boy from Montana. It's always those crafty Americans, isn't it?