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Legendary Belarusian wrestler Aleksander Medved about his career and family

Aleksander Medved had his spectacular wins at the best venues of the world. He won one Olympic medal after another as well as almost all his championships.

The legendary wrestler Aleksander Medved’s won fame for the whole Soviet Union and Minsk, which he made his home, due to his sport achievements in his day.

By the way, it was in the capital of Belarus Minsk where the young Medved took up wrestling during his service in the armed forces.

Aleksander Medved, three-time Olympic Champion, repeated World, Europe and the USSR Champion, Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR:
When at tank school, we had a lieutenant, who once asked which of us did the sport a little. I said I had done this just for fun. He suggested that we train. When we started fighting, he happened to lie on the floor begging to let him go. He turned out to be Minsk Region champion.

I went in for wrestling then, Greco-Roman one.

The promising athlete entered the Physical Training School and joined the Soviet wrestling team after three years in the army.

Medved won a medal at Minsk Spartakiad (a sporting event held in the Soviet Union) in 1959 and received the titles of Champion of the USSR and Honoured Master of Sports two years later.

Then, as they say, there were results.

However, it was hard to live in Minsk in the beginning.

Aleksander Medved:
When a solder, I lived in barracks (we needed a place to change clothes) near the Minsk Botanical Garden.

There followed his legendary Olympic fights, finger resetting just in course of fighting, wins, travels, international recognition.

One of the favourite places of Aleksander Medved in Minsk has been the Gorky Park. He has a flat in the vicinity, in the Bronevoy Street, where he moved in 1967.

Aleksander Medved:
Where a person grew up and imbibed the surroundings… The people. The air, which none can deprive them of, which must be within them.

They offered me to move to America in 1972 but I chose to stay here in Minsk to coach the young.

The Olympic champion is still living in his flat in the Gorky Park vicinity and nurturing his granddaughters named Maya and Kasya.

The titled grandfather dotes the girls and spends a lot of time with his family.

Aleksander Medved:
When we are in the country, they are always with us. They help us in the kitchen garden. They go to pick berries to help their grandfather to blackberries. They already do the washing-up themselves. They never leave without giving me a kiss.

The girls are girls, namely tender.

Aleksander Medved has won three Olympic gold medals, seven World Championships, three golds in Europe and nine first places in the USSR.

After finishing his career the beloved “Olympic Medved”, as people call him, carried the Soviet Union flag at the Munich Olympics.  

He became head of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus later, after Belarus had gained independence.

Vasily Krezo, top freestyle wrestling coach:
Aleksander Medved has always set an example to everybody as he is an unsurpassed sportsman. He is acknowledged to be the best athlete and wrestler all over the world, which is deserved. He is always listened to with a lot of attention and pleasure.

He still gives good pieces of advice, clever and wise.

Denis Pekarsky, athlete:
I have watched Aleksander Medved fights on TV since my childhood.

I saw him win the Olympic Games.

I liked the sport and I think I’ll compete at the World Championship in future.

Denis Bury, athlete:
We strive for success and hope to present Belarus in the Olympic Games. We’ll achieve our aims.

We are athletes, you know!

The star of elite sport Julia Ratkevich works in the Wrestling Palace and coaches future champions like Aleksander.

Julia Ratkevich, World Champion in wrestling, European Champion, Olympics medalist:
I started coaching kids here, in this hall, namely girls. I focus on girls and we show good results at world and European contests.

The last time I met Aleksander Medved was at a seminar in Serbia.

He spoke about everything there, mentioned me and praised.

The honorable Minsk resident Aleksander Medved has brought up his own medalist. His son Aleksey won the World Championship in freestyle wrestling.

Aleksander Medved:
I was a tyrant, not a father.

Aleksey Medved:
No, he wasn’t. He is kidding. Somehow, surely, he did his best for me to reach sporting heights. He coached me a lot and managed something. Still, I haven’t won any Olympic medal.

How did he bring me up?

Like all fathers do.

They all demand discipline and order.

The Medveds are easy to recognize as all the men in the family are about two meters in height. The youngest grandson Aleksander is the tallest of all.
He is about to leave school and goes in for swimming.

His grandfather is his best friend.

Aleksander, the grandson of Aleksander Medved:
We spend weekends together very often. We play billiards, go to the country where we like to rest. My granddad shares his life experience with me. He tells me plenty of stories.

It has already been traditional to hold freestyle wrestling tournaments on the 16th September, which is the birthday of Aleksander Medved. The participants compete for the prizes of the three-time champion. They are “Medved” for senior athlets and “Medvezhonok” (little bear in Russian) for kids.

However, the Minsk resident, acknowledged the best wrestler in the history of sport, made up his mind to celebrate his 80th birthday with his large family, which is his major award.

Legendary Belarusian wrestler Aleksander Medved about his career and family