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Wrestler Alexander Medved about sport, doping and belief in God

Alexander Medved himself, his family, friends and fans celebrate his 80th anniversary. The legendary freestyle wrestler, coach and teacher, Alexander found some time for pool and an interview to our TV channel.

You’ve got a firm handshake!

Alexander Medved:
Once I was in Egypt and Sadat extended his hand for a handshake. I gripped his hand! If you could only hear him screaming! His security jumped me, but I shook them off. He laughed. I said: “Pardon, pardon”.

I know that you broke a boxing machine while trying to measure your strength in Tokyo.

Alexander Medved:
Yeah, right. I broke all of them because my wrist is very strong.

But someone broke your finger once. Seems to me, it was a wrestler in Mexico.

Alexander Medved:
This is how you start thinking in this situation: you can be eliminated if you go to a doctor. That’s why I just set my broken finger while standing in front of him. He came over shivery. I was like “Okay, let’s continue the fight”, but he raised his arm and eliminated.

This is a way to secure a victory from the very beginning. Can I give you a surprise? It’s your birthday today, so we can’t help but gift you these flowers. Happy birthday!

Alexander Medved:
Thank you.

Let’s put the flowers here as a symbol of our celebratory interview. Let’s start.

Tell me, please, have you ever lost intentionally?

Alexander Medved:
No, never.

What physical exercises do you afford, besides billiards?

Alexander Medved:
I go hunting.

At the age of 79? You’re almost 80.
Yes, but I bring a small chair with me. Sometimes I hunt for ducks, sometimes for animals.

Don’t you feel sorry for killing animals?

Alexander Medved:
Lately, yes. You know, sometimes I just let them go. I saw an elk cow but let it go. The hunters who organized it were like: “No comments!” I was tougher when I was younger. I’m becoming more sentimental now.

You play billiards and swim a little.

Alexander Medved:
Yeah, I go swimming three times a week.

You were trying to do gymnastics, but you weren’t allowed because you were too big for it. Handball, football, hammer throwing, but you choose wrestling…

Alexander Medved:
Maybe I was born for wrestling. You know, now there are good videos of fighting bears. Maybe it’s my fate?

I find so much pleasure in stepping on the carpet. I just play with wrestlers. They say: “He’s strong like a bear and he’s got fox eyes.” It was a great pleasure. I stayed in elite sport for 15 years – not everyone can do it. Nowadays they enter top 3 and it makes them happy. Earlier entering top 3 meant that you wouldn’t take part in competitions next time. That’s why I had to work and upgrade my skills all the time.

You chose wrestling. What should Belarus choose? What kind of sport should become the main one in our country? We succeed in tennis and ice-hockey.

Alexander Medved:
We’ve got very good traditions in wrestling. We discovered girls when I was a chairman of the Federation. Now I regret that it happened too late: Japanese did it 10 years earlier.

It means that we need to fight in any kind of sport. Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting of the National Olympic Committee (you attended it, too) and criticized football and ice hockey players. What do you think about Belarusian ice hockey and football?

Alexander Medved:
Ice-hockey is not a trouble for sports. Let them do it.

European Olympic Games will be the next large competitions held in Belarus in 2019. What do you think, why was Belarus chosen for it?

Alexander Medved:
It’s because we carry out our duty and do it at a very high level. It’s appreciated.

Besides freestyle wrestling, what wrestling do you like?

Alexander Medved:
I did sambo and Greco-Roman wrestling, but I didn’t really like it.

Do you like sumo?

Alexander Medved:
It’s only for Japanese. They’re small but they like fatties.

I asked because sumo wrestlers are overweight. What do you think, can man afford to have a pot belly?

Alexander Medved:
I think that man should always have a lean body. So much time have already passed but my weight is still 120 kg. I control it.

Do you keep to a diet?

Alexander Medved:
I have cottage cheese with sour cream and a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. That’s all. Sometimes I eat meat when I want it.

But what’s the source of energy for such a wrestler like you?

Alexander Medved:
When I trained, it was necessary to eat pounded steaks and honey.

Are you allowed to drink coffee?

Alexander Medved:
I drink a cup of coffee with milk.

What about alcohol?

Alexander Medved:
Sometimes. I like whisky on the rocks. I think that alcohol is a doping.

Were sportsmen allowed to drink alcohol in particular periods when you were a wrestler?

Alexander Medved:
No, it was forbidden.

But anyway, sportsmen always had some kinds of stimulants.

Alexander Medved:
You know, I didn’t even know such a word like stimulants. Or maybe I was just dumb.

Do you mean there was no doping?

Alexander Medved:
There was chocolate which was given to astronauts, there was honey from Lithuania. I remember the time when I went over the top with this honey in Toledo. It was hot outdoors. I ate 3 spoons of it, then I went to a doctor and said: “I’m sweating. Seems like I caught a cold.” The doctor asked: “What did you eat?” I answered: “Honey.” “Oh, don’t worry,” said the doctor. Nuts and honey – this is what I ate.

What do you think, do all these anti-doping investigations show that there is a problem or it’s all about politics?

Alexander Medved:
I think it’s all about politics. Everybody is against the USSR, against Russia. Look, neither Americans nor Germans get eliminated. Belarusians, Bulgarians and Russians get eliminated most of all.

You are an honorary citizen of Minsk. What changes do you want here and what shouldn’t be changed no matter what?

Alexander Medved:
I think we don’t need to change anything. The city is becoming more and more gorgeous. I was a witness of its building, for example, let’s take the National Library of Belarus or athletics facilities. It has a colossal meaning and stays for centuries.

Sometimes people say something like: “What is the reason you built it? You built all these sports palaces. You’d better share money with people.”

Alexander Medved:
Well, people will get the money. What’s next? All these buildings will survive the centuries for next generations. I think it’s great. Even in districts… Lately I visited Byaroza, there is an excellent ice center there. Lots of children do sports there, including wrestling. It’s great. I think this is the future of the nation. A nation should be strong and powerful to survive.

You like Minsk. What other cities do you like?

Alexander Medved:

Bila Tserkva where I was born. It’s a small town with a tyre works and Alexandria park.

Do you follow the events in Ukraine? How do you feel about the situation?

Alexander Medved:
Of course. I went there last year. I used to go there once a year to go to cemetery when I was healthier.

What about the situation in Luhansk?

Alexander Medved:
It’s hard to explain. Lviv is near it, but Bila Tserva is ok.

Do Ukrainians love Belarusians?

Alexander Medved:
They do. They ask those who come to Lviv: “Who are you? Belarusian? Hey, brother.”

Is it because Belarus took the role of a mediator? Is it because of the Minsk agreements?

Alexander Medved:
It also means much.

Can you say you got upset in your life?

Alexander Medved:
Once I was ill and went to a world championship. I took second place, but then I concentrated. I became a winner of all the championships over and over again, and suddenly I am second. Can you imagine it?

Were you upset?

Alexander Medved:
Of course. Then I changed my tactics a bit. I injured my ankle. But I got up steam and won. Wrestling is a kind of sport that requires thinking. We have a wonderful sportswoman Vasilisa Marzalyuk, she doesn’t think. She took second place. I worked with her a little. I think she’s going to win the Olympics.

Do you speak Belarusian?

Alexander Medved:
It’s similar to Ukrainian! Of course, I do.

What about abusive language? Did you use it during competitions?

Alexander Medved:
No, I didn’t have time for it. I knocked up my opponent in 26 seconds during the final in 1964. He asked: “How did you do it?” I answered: “See you next time.”

Tell me about the ring you’re wearing.

Alexander Medved:
It’s a gift from FILA, a present from my Turkish opponent Ahmed.

Are you an Orthodox Christian?

Alexander Medved:
Yes.

Going to church wasn’t popular at the times of the USSR. Did you go to church before fighting?

Alexander Medved:
We went to church before going to Olympics. A priest said: "Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry." 

Did you pray to God for helping you to win?

Alexander Medved:
I’ve noticed that football players often cross themselves.

Did you turn to supreme forces?

Alexander Medved:
No.

Don’t you believe in God?

Alexander Medved:
I do.

Has it come recently or have you always been a believer?

Alexander Medved:
I always believed. I went to church, put candles. My children are blessed. Life doesn’t end here. We carry on traditions.

Does the struggle continue?

Alexander Medved:
Yeah, know it’s a struggle for my health. I hope I will live a little longer and have fun at my great-grandchildren’s weddings.

We wish you a Happy Birthday one more time. Wish you to be healthy and hope that we will play billiards in 10 years again. I will try to be a better player.

Alexander Medved:
Thank you.

 

 Александр Медведь о спорте, допинге и вере в Бога

Wrestler Alexander Medved about sport, doping and belief in God