Aleksandr Karelin

Alexander Alexandrovich Karelin (Russian Александр Александрович Карелин; born September 19, 1967 in Novosibirsk ) is a former Soviet and Russian wrestler.


Alexander Karelin grew up in West Siberia in Novosibirsk. There he began the age of eleven with the rings. He fought in the super heavyweight in Greco-Roman wrestling and was trained throughout his career by Viktor Kuznetsov.

Karelin was 1.90 m tall to its active time, weighed about 130 kg, and had an outstanding physique. In conjunction with its great technical repertoire he founded in the late eighties an unprecedented era in Ringer sports that lasted over 13 years. Karelin trademark was the wrong lifters from the state, which went down as the " Karelin Lift" in the story. This Ringer technique is used usually in the " lighter " weight classes, since in this case the enemy is dug and thrown backwards onto the mat. Karelin was super heavyweight world as the only one who was able to apply this technique successfully. Due to the unusual and extreme experience for them to be hochgestemmt by the opponent, the opponent Karelin were overwhelmed with this situation often and were thus defeated prematurely.


Success at junior level

1985 Alexander Karelin won the Junior World Championship in his first international appearance. In 1986, he added this success also the title of European Junior Champion added. In the same year Karelin made ​​with just 19 years in the Soviet senior level for the first time for a stir when he remained throughout the season, with one exception unbeaten. He cashed the only defeat against his compatriot Igor Rostorozki, who previously won the world title of senior year.

In August 1987, Karelin won in Burnaby superior for the second time the World Youth Championship. Nevertheless, the launches at international senior tournaments he remained up to a World Cup withheld because he in turn was defeated at the beginning of the year in the final of the Soviet championships against Rostorozki. In the upcoming national championships in the spring of 1988, Karelin was revenge for this defeat, when he defeated the defending champion and now two -time world and European champions. In the same tournament Karelin defeated with the vice - world champion Vladimir Grigoriev from 1986 also the second major adversary for an international launch site.

Success at senior level

Through his success at the National Championships Karelin was allowed to start for the next European Championships in Kolbotn (Norway). With this match he demonstrated his unique class when he defeated all opponents, including the Swedish 1986 FIFA World Cup Tomas Johansson, prematurely shoulder victory. This superior performance is Karelin suddenly catapulted into the limelight of international Ringer scene. In the German journal " The Ringer ", No. 6/ 1988, wrote this: " Alexander Karelin is likely to be the absolute Soviet star for the next few years. "

From that date was Karelin as the exceptional athlete his weight class and was duly nominated by the Soviet Union for the Olympic Games in Seoul. At his first Olympic tournament, he was his role as favorite and won at the age of 21 years the gold medal. Nevertheless, Karelin was the surprise of many observers in the final nervous and could against the young Bulgarians Rangel Gerowski barely win on points ( 5:3 ).

1989 succeeded Alexander Karelin for the first time the Double. He defended in spring in Oulu first his title at the European Championships, and then back up in August in Martigny ( Switzerland ) first World Cup title in the elderly. He was in the entire competition from not only technical point. Especially his special technique, the wrong lifters from the state, opponents turned repeatedly before unsolvable problems. Also in the next two years Karelin could make the double of European and World Championship victory perfectly. He defeated all his opponents usually prematurely. At the 1991 World Championships in Varna Karelin was officially introduced for the first time on the American Matt Ghaffari, who was to become his main rival in the next few years, without being able to break the dominance of the Russians.

After winning his fifth European Championship Alexander Karelin won in Barcelona in 1992 his second Olympic gold medal. He had to go only against the Finns Juha Ahokas over the full fight time of five minutes, the remaining four bouts lasted a total of 5:32 min.

In the post-Olympic season 1993 the winning streak of the man from Siberia continued unabated, as the European Championships and then he could now for the sixth time in a row to win the world championships. In winning this now fourth World Cup title in Stockholm Karelin shouldered Although the usual impressive manner in the final Moldavian Sergei Mureiko after 1:40 battle time, but could in the first round against Matt Ghaffari after a long time again an encounter only a narrow margin opt (2-0). Nevertheless, Karelin was still recognized as the measure of all things in Greco- Roman wrestling super heavy. Consequently, he won the World and European Championships over the next two years.

The competition in 1996 was primarily marked by a severe shoulder injury that Alexander Karelin had contracted in March at the European Championships. In this tournament, he had to go through the struggle of time and allow an opponent's scoring again with his 4-1 victory point for years against the German champion René Schiekel. The final against Kotok could Karelin due to his injury only " One Arm " contest, which did not prevent him, again to triumph and to get his ninth European title. Following this competition was followed by a surgery on her right shoulder, which took several months of training failure by itself.

Despite this setback, Alexander Karelin celebrated his third Olympic gold medal in the summer games in Atlanta. In the final he beat while his nearest challenger Matt Ghaffari but surely just 1-0 on points. Nevertheless, the Russians had during the entire Olympic tournament through the after-effects of his shoulder surgery should be noted. Especially the lack of explosiveness is made ​​this apparent. But Karelin was also in terms of forces not yet returned the old man, which ultimately resulted in the fact that this time stayed away already has become almost a habit shoulder victories. In the final against local favorite Ghaffari he even had to go for the second time in his career at all in the fight extension.

When Alexander Karelin, now three -time Olympic champion, missed his start by waiving at the European Championships 1997 in Kouvola, for the first time in nine years at a major event, it has been variously speculated about his retirement from active competition scene. However, at the World Championships in the fall the same year he appeared in old freshness and won in his usual nonchalant way now seventh world title. He maintained, inter alia, in a first round battle against the new U.S. hopefuls Rulon Gardner the upper hand, which was intended to replace in the following years Karelin old rival Ghaffari as number 1 in the U.S. team. Up to the next Olympic Games in Sydney sat Karelin his triumphal procession through the Greco-Roman wrestler scene continued and won superior to all the world and European titles that were awarded by then.

End of an Era

As in previous years, was the defending champion and now nine -time world champion Alexander Karelin at the Olympic Games in Sydney as the sole contender for the win. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch therefore dwelt on the day of the finals in the competition hall to Karelin to be able to present his fourth Olympic gold medal in person. Everything seemed to be going on as usual after the Russians after four quick victories in the final of the American Rulon Gardner faced. Although the man from the United States was confident and convincing in his previous appearances quite knew, granted himself journalists from his homeland barely a chance to win. Too overpowering acted the man from Russia for more than a decade in his weight class, so a defeat for many of the audience was out of their ideas. However, in contrast to the first meeting of the two protagonists in the 1997 World Cup was the final encounter of the first gong to have a balanced battle. Gardner, who had been hired by his coach Dan Chandler outstanding on Karelin, prevented again and again that he can start his dreaded handles despite optical superiority. In addition, the Russians, now with 33 years seemed to have no longer the physical constitution of days gone by, when he pushed up his opponents almost at will. Finally, the underdogs from the U.S. even went in, as he was awarded a single point after Karelin sparked a tight grip for a few seconds too early and it was due to a previously introduced in the year usually punished. By making use of all its facilities Rulon Gardner saved this small advantage over the remaining period of struggle and thus destroyed the aura of invincibility of his opponent. For Karelin the final defeat was not only the first defeat in 13 years, but the first ever defeat in an international competition.

Alexander Karelin ended after these games its international wrestler 's career. He is with four Olympic medals (3 gold and 1 × × Silver), nine World Championship titles and twelve European championship titles regardless of the style as the most successful wrestler of all time. For his contributions to the sport wrestler he was accepted as one of the first in the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame in September 2003.


Alexander Karelin valid after the end of his active career as the world's most popular wrestlers of the present. His supremacy lasted longer than a whole generation athletes and outlasted the careers of most rivals. Besides the unique track record in the sport across still probably second to none, also contributed to the appearance in the myth of this athlete. The people fascinated above all the contrast between the one hand, fearsome fighters who were among the training and Others endurance runs with shouldered tree trunks through knee- deep snow-covered Siberian forests, and with the sophisticated private citizen on the other hand, the from his fondness for literature and classical music no secret made.

Due to the manner with which he dominated his sport for years, formed around Karelin time a veritable myth out. The belief in his invincibility to have been so deeply rooted among quite a few athletes that they had allegedly resigned in advance of their struggle against Karelin with the defeat. Consequently, they had only half-heartedly offered resistance in order to save her strength for the further course of the tournament. A U.S. newspaper once wrote, " Karelin opponents were thinking less about how they could defeat him, but rather by how it entkämen him with a whole skin. "

1995 Alexander Karelin entered the headquarters of the federal Personal Protection Service of Tax Police Service of Russia and was promoted to major general. He left them again, however, when he was elected in 1999 as MP for the United Russia party in the Duma. Since then, he was re-elected twice. He is a member of the Committee on International Affairs. Previously, he had completed his studies at the Novosibirsk School of Engineering and Transportation, as well as studying at the Sports University in Omsk. In August 1996, he was by then President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin won the prestigious Hero of the Russian Federation. In November 1998, received his doctorate Alexander Karelin to the doctor of pedagogical sciences ( candidate nauk ) and in May 2002 he received his habilitation ( doctor nauk ) at the Academy of Physical Culture in Saint-Petersburg.

Alexander Karelin got from Hollywood several roles offered as a movie villain, which he rejected all of them. The same was true for a quote of American football team the Dallas Cowboys, who wanted to commit Karelin for its exceptional physique as a player.

Alexander Karelin still lives in Novosibirsk.

Competitive balance (Overview)

International Championships

(OS = Olympic Games, WM = World Championship, European Championship EM =, GR = Greek and Roman. Styles, SS = Super Heavyweight, up to 130 kg body weight)

Pictures of Aleksandr Karelin