Alexander Medved

by Michail from Smorgon, Belarus

Belarus is a talented nation. It has given birth to many prominent people who have made the greatest contributions to the development of Belarussian culture.

Belarussian sportsmen have also contributed a lot to the glory and fame of our country thanks to their achievements in major international competitions. The names of the stars of Belarussian sports are well-known all over the world. Belarus has reason to be proud of its achievements in physical culture and sports.

Alexander Medved by right belongs to the outstanding people of our country. He is one of the most prominent wrestlers in the world. He lives in Minsk now and has the richest collection of medals.

Alexander was born in the small Ukrainian town of Belaya Tserkov in 1938. His father worked as a forester. So Alexander quite often went on rounds with him for a number of kilometres on foot. Alexander grew up tall and strong, he liked sports very much and participated in several of them at once. He played football and basketball, swam, took part in athletic competitions and sometimes went to the wrestling hall. The coaches sent this versatile young man to all competitions where he often became the winner. So Alexander would play football one day, then appear on a basketball court or take part in a track meet.

Alexander got a real interest in wrestling only in the army. When he was sent to a wrestling competition, a famous coach, Pavel Grigoryev, spotted the young soldier, could discern the great talent in him, and suggested that he take up wrestling seriously. Grigoryev thought that Alexander had the makings of a distinguished wrestler. He had quick reflexes, the speed of a lightweight, amazing staying power, natural coordination and height. All those things played a very important role for a heavyweight. But the most important of all were strong traits of character: courage, decisiveness and patience. Alexander was a born fighter. When his excellent moral qualities were added to this, it made Alexander Medved not only one of the best wrestlers in the country, but in the world.

He started his wrestling career not as a super-heavyweight. He developed a system of exercises which helped him to become strong and improve musculature. He won his first gold at the Tokio Olympics in heavyweight in 1964.As the norms of the team demanded he had to train down eight kilos. As you know, wrestling is the kind of sport where weight categories are very important. Medved understood that, and after two years of regular exercising Alexander broke the legend that only super-giant wrestlers are able to win in the super-heavyweight division. He really proved that huge, strong super-heavyweight men find it difficult to beat a lighter class wrestler who has such qualities as: quick reflexes, speed, endurance and agility. It should be mentioned that his lightfootedness and grace were really astonishing also.

In 1965 Medved went to the World Championships with an injured foot top. He hadn’t trained much before that competition, so he lost. At that time, Medved vowed that that loss would be his first and the last. The next year, Medved kept that promise.

Everyone who is interested in wrestling, remembers the symbolic set finger in the fight with Ditrich, a German wrestler in Mexico in 1968. In 1972 the 20th Olympic Games took place in Munich. It was a very difficult time for Alexander. The competition in Munich began for our native with a hard fight with the American Chris Taylor. Taylor weighted 187 kg and was the heaviest participant in the Olympics while Medved’s weight was only 114 kg. Before this tournament Medved and Taylor had met three times. The Belarussian sportsman had had two victories and one fight which ended in a draw. With great efforts, Medved managed to win. After the competition he said: ”I trained specially for the fight with Taylor. True, it was impossible to find a training partner who could simulate the American. The thing is that in spite of his huge constitution he is mobile, flexible and keeps his balance well.”

Alexander Medved left professional sporting otherwise undefeated. He was the three-time Olympic champion and seven-time world champion. He had become a legend. In my mind, Alexander Medved was made into a great wrestler not only by his superlative skills but also by his wonderful character, industriousness, and modesty. Medved's fame brought fame to Belarus. I believe that Madved is a good example for young people to follow.

But Alexander hasn’t given up wrestling. He wrote a book on the methodology of wrestling and defended his dissertation. He has continued to share his experience with young fighters. He headed the department of Physical Education at the Belarussian State University Of Radio Electronics. He is the vice-president of the National Olympic Commition, and the president of the Wrestling Federation of Belarus. Besides, he holds the title of international referee.

One more fact says much about the level of fame held by this Belarussian sportsman all over the world. A special exposition was devoted to Alexander Medved in the Hall of Wrestling Glory in Oklahoma. The presentation took place in New York. A traditional tournament for wrestlers, in honor of Medved, is held in Minsk every year. The most talented and strongest wrestlers from all over the world have been meeting at the Sport Palace for many years. They always attract a great number of fans and journalists. By the way, along with the competition for adult wrestlers the tournament-satellite “Medvezhonok” takes place here, where young sportsmen take part.

Medved is an unquestionable authority for all wrestlers in Belarus. He is in his late sixties, but he feels quite comfortable in a company with young boys and girls.

I think that freestyle wrestling is only a men’s sport because men have always wanted to prove who is the strongest, the quickest, the highest, to test their strength and agility in wrestling matches. I’m absolutely sure there isn’t any girl who doesn’t like brave, powerful and impressive young men. During training process not only physical qualities are developed, but it makes people better-disciplined, industrious, and bolder. Alexander Medved was a remarkable example of a person who has done his best to reveal man's ability both in the physical and moral aspects.

Here I want to mention that there are many examples of talented sportsmen from Belarus who have gone abroad and contributed a lot into the physical culture of other countries. Why? Do they think that professional sports in our republic aren't developed enough? In reality, our government pays much attention to sports, currently. There are all necessary facilities, skilled trainers, etc., but despite this, it still requires athletes' desire to devote their free time to this occupation, as Alexander Medved did. And I admire him for that.

The younger generation should understand that sport will serve to develop values that help make them better citizens, stimulating the peaceful and respectful communication of the peoples and countries of the twenty-first century.

I hope that Belarussian sportsmen will prove among the best ones at the forthcoming Olympic Games.

Page created on 10/3/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/3/2005 12:00:00 AM

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