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Post: “A liter of blood flowed out.” How did Karelin become a Hero of Russia?


Alexander Karelin has not lost a single fight for 13 years and has not given a single point to his opponents for 6 years. But few people know what the hero of Russia from Novosibirsk went through.

Karelin won his third gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta – without fully recovering from a serious injury, which was the separation of the pectoralis major muscle. After the end of the fight, his rival, American Matt Gaffer, could not hold back his tears due to resentment and impotence.

“At the European Championships in Badapest in March 1996, chest muscles were revealed,” says Mikhail Mamiashvili, president of the Russian Wrestling Federation and then head coach of the team. “There were very few chances to compete in the Olympics. That’s why it’s one of the reference points even for today’s youth. Especially for wrestlers. It gave them confidence.”

Gold with broken ribs

And three years ago, at the 1993 World Championships in Stockholm, the athlete broke two ribs in the first fight of the tournament with the same Gaffer. And then, due to an injury, the question arose of expulsion of the athlete from the competition.

“After all, a broken rib can get into the lung during a fight,” says Nikolai Prokazov, head coach of the Russian national team. “And when this type of injury occurs, you lose your ability to breathe deeply and you feel severe pain. Many were shocked, offered to withdraw. , but Karelin refused. He honorably came to the end and became the first. “

Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin.  Archive photo - RIA Novosti, 1920, 03.10.2022
Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin. Archive photo

In the semi-finals, the Russian defeated the Swedish giant Thomas Johansson and the Bulgarian representative Sergey Mureiko in the gold fight.

“At the same time, only Karelin herself knows about the pain she’s going through,” the agency’s source added. “We were all very worried about him, then what he did was only his. We rejoiced when he won, but he was in pain, because the frost was already gone. But he was preparing himself, he never complained. He also understood very well that if he pulled out, he would not bring points to the team. He was the captain of the Russian national team, apparently According to him, they are tuned to him in a completely different way.”

Alexander Ignatenko, two-time world and European champion and silver medalist in Stockholm, recalls that tournament: “The coaches debated whether San Sanych should shoot or not, but he said: “There’s no need, I’ll go there calmly, don’t worry.” And when Sergei Mureiko confidently won the final, he spoke in his own way: “I was lucky.” And Swede Thomas Johansson later even said that Karelin cheated on everyone by saying that his ribs were bad. That wasn’t true, because no one in the world who has suffered such a disability can fight.”

with your belief in yourself

In March 1993, the giant was seriously injured in a duel with Belarusian Dmitry Debelko at the European Championships in Budapest. However, he gathered his strength and won in the final against the Ukrainian Petr Kotok. Almost no one believed that Karelin would be able to recover and get in shape for the July Olympics in the USA. After all, he was facing serious surgery and there was little time left for the Games in Atlanta.

“After the surgery, the doctors said that the rehabilitation will take 11 months. He was given rest and the team’s second number was preparing for the Olympics. But Karelin was in all the training camps, recovered, walked, and started jogging shortly before the start of the Olympics, but he had great potential,” Ignatenko said. He tied up and said, “I will fight”.

“He did all the fights in Atlanta very carefully, protecting his injured arm,” said the expert. It happened even before the final, but as usual, he endured and did not tell anyone. He endured and won the Olympics. He is a man of great will, a real Russian hero. “

Gogi Koguashvili, head coach of the Russian Greco-Roman wrestling team, also noted that Karelin prefers not to talk about his injuries.

“We trained together for a long time in the Russian national team, and I have never heard from him that something hurt him,” said Koguashvili. “It was always positive, if someone didn’t perform very well, they would support the guys. It was only after the 1993 World Cup final that they learned that their ribs were broken.”

“All this speaks of his will and character, of victories won through suffering,” added the national team’s coach. “He always fought to the end, there was no place for him but the first. Alexander Karelin is a very brave actor. person. standard, we tried and try to be like San Sanych.”

Prokazov is sure that the athlete with the title, who suffered severe pain and suffering, deservedly received the title of Hero of Russia in 1996.

“After the victory in Atlanta, he didn’t show much emotion but no one knows what was going on in his soul. On the carpet he defended the honor of the country and despite his war injuries he always brought the subject up. In the end he was the winner. He was always a normal fighter, a normal man and leading the team to a joint victory. He reacted like a normal human being.”

Source: Ria

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