Carpet artist

Alexander Medved was probably the most honored guest of the 22nd International Freestyle and Women’s Wrestling Tournament of the elite series “Golden Grand Prix“ Ivan Yarygin ”.

The three-time Olympic champion, the best freestyle wrestler in history, despite his 73 years old, has not lost the slightest interest in his life’s work. To the case in which the great Belarusian athlete from his friend Ivan Yarygin received an accurate and very eloquent description – a carpet artist.

Rybalko’s Ultimatum

– Alexander Vasilyevich, what fundamentally differs the international tournament for the prizes of Alexander Medved from Yaryginsky?
– Mainly because my tournament is held in Minsk – it is easier for athletes from Europe to get to it, and the price is different. So, last year wrestlers from 26 countries took part in it. At these competitions it is even easier in the sense that a person put on tights, crossed the road – and already in the hall. The hotel is located next to the Sports Palace. And so I don’t see much difference.

– It is known that the right to go to the Munich Olympics in 1972, Ivan Yarygin lost to the resident of Kiev, Vladimir Gulutkin, losing in the final of the USSR championship. But in the end, the Siberian went to the main games of the fourth year. Largely thanks to you, after all, they say, you have delivered an ultimatum to the head of the national team and your own mentor Boleslav Rybalko: “Yarygin is not going – neither am I”. How did the Krasnoyarsk man behave under the weight of such great responsibility?
– Vanya has always impressed me. And then I enjoyed great authority in the national team and could determine who was capable of what. And I warned the coach Rybalko: “If you don’t take him, you yourself will go in heavy weight”. – “Sasha, why are you telling me that?” Knowing Vanya’s character, I was one hundred percent sure that he would justify my trust. He knew how to pull himself together at the right moment, could overcome difficulties and even super-difficulties. Vanya always kept all emotions to himself. And he believed in himself. The coaches gave preference to him, and I, as the team captain, decided a lot. And he defended his position.
I remember that we lived side by side in rooms, I got up at night, and he asked me: “What, can’t you sleep?” “When you have the second Olympics, I’ll see how you sleep.” And then it happened before Montreal (laughs). “Well, can’t you sleep?” – “Yes, I can’t sleep.”

– On the eve of the Olympic Games in Munich, Dmitry Mindiashvili asked you to take Yarygin to his sparring partner …
– I never refused. We trained and practiced with enthusiasm. Somewhere he could imitate the fighting style of my opponents. Of course, it was hard for him to fight like 200-kilogram Taylor, but, for example, like Duraliev, yes. By the way, a journalist recently sent me a picture of me doing a sweep for Taylor. Finally, this picture has appeared in my archive.

– The coach reproached Yarygin for good-naturedly showing his rivals his signature techniques, citing you as an example, because even in training you did not let anyone down.
– It was, it was. In training, I was “rocking” like that … And not one – two, three. They crawled away. That’s when I got the load. This is where I developed endurance. The senior coach of the USSR national team, Alexander Dyakin, went to Japan for an internship. He said that there a strong athlete fought several opponents in a row with practically no rest. And I said: “Why did I go there? I should have come to Belarus, I have been training like this for a long time ”(laughs).

– What was the atmosphere in the USSR national team?
– Then we helped each other, our team lived very amicably. There were eight people in it, all of different nationalities. Once in the Armenian Tsaghkadzor, where we were preparing for the Olympics in high-mountainous Mexico City, we arranged a KVN. So we won first place. Imagine, five heavyweights came out on stage and performed the dance of little swans. And we were given a ram. True, when they were driving on a motorcycle, they broke his legs … And in football we did not lose to our national team of Belarus, when “Stayki” gathered at the training base. The guys played great. Vanya stood at the goal, I played great in defense … He often said to me: “I will go on the attack, stand at the gate.” We were changing all the time (laughs). He was a sociable, warm person. Never skidded, always rushed forward. Therefore, such a talent manifested itself. By his example, young people should grow up.

“Sasha, let me win”

– You yourself worked as a referee for a long time. How would you rate the refereeing in connection with the change in the rules?
– It became more rigid and even aggressive. Wrestling is much more interesting. Previously, you had to run after your opponent, but now they are severely punished for passivity. I chased rivals, chased, pulled out by the foot on the carpet … Only defending himself, the athlete will not achieve anything, now happiness must be sought in the attack. With such a struggle as now, I would perform one more cycle.

– Have you ever met with arbitrariness in your career?
– When I fought, the referees were always eager to serve my fight, because then they constantly got on the pages of magazines and newspapers. I don’t remember being condemned.

– Were there any wrestlers from whom you adopted something?
– Yes, I did. I didn’t have to be taught. There was a wrestler Vladimir Sinyavsky, I took a lot from him. For example, side passages with sinkholes. Yes, and spied on the guys from the national team.

– Were you friends with any of your opponents?
– If we take the wrestlers in general, then with Roman Rurua, in the national team with Vanya. Of those whom I met on the carpet, we have warm relations to this day with the Turk, Ahmet Ayik. My eternal rival Osman Duraliev was closely associated with when we were in Bulgaria. In Munich, at my last Olympics, during the final fight, he suddenly said to me: “Sasha, let me win, I am ending my career.” “No, Osman, I’m leaving too. Fight further. ”-“ I can’t, I don’t have the strength ”(laughs).

– Once seven people molested your wife, whom you safely knocked out for this. Apparently, you had no problems with striking technique either. How do you feel about the popular mixed martial arts today?
– To be honest, as a child I was a fighter, I fought great. In the post-war period, we were raised by the street, and this did not pass without a trace. Once in the army, they brought gloves to us, so we beat each other in the company so that later we went around with bruises (laughs). Then they almost put me on my lip. When they don’t touch me – and I don’t touch anyone, but these seven had to fight back. For some fifteen seconds they all lay. It became so interesting to my wife that she instantly forgot about the pain in the stomach, which had bothered her before (smiles). Even when we were struggling, I used to start scaring the guys, they fell: “Let go, take the point and don’t touch” (laughs). I was attracted to martial arts. Fighting without rules is a tough kind, but I like it. Unlike American ketch – an empty, played out performance. If I were younger, I myself would have taken part in fights without rules. I know that even Karelin went to Japan and tried it.

– I have noticed that all big champions have their own specific training.
– Yes, that’s right. I agree. I had my own method, and only thanks to it I achieved the result. Now I will write a book and there I will tell you about my studies. For training I took several partners, different in height, wrestling style, weight. For example, to work on speed, I worked with a 65-kilogram wrestler. I said: “You defend yourself, I will catch up with you.” The athlete, of course, must listen to the coach, but he himself must think. I kept a diary and always thought about what I should work on, analyzed my fights after all the competitions. Well-thought-out work on oneself gives an athlete a lot. I teach this to my students too, however, everything is hard for the majority.

Such a fate

– Alexander Karelin claims that spiritually he is much stronger than physically. And you?
– Of course, Sasha is spiritually very rich. He has many character traits that helped him win. But physically he was also fantastically strong. He had no equal in this. To lift lumps of 150 kilograms … And I was also internally always ready. The situations were very difficult, and I got out of them. I myself was amazed at how physically strong people came out against me. But their power helped only in the first minutes of the meeting, and then I did not feel them. I turned it over, folded it …

In Mexico City, they told me that I had a pre-infarction state. I wrote a receipt, they say, I myself am responsible for the consequences. But the guys and coaches believed in me. Even at the training camp in Tsaghkadzor my pressure was jumping, but everyone said: “He will win”. Twice during the Olympics he passed out in the locker room. They pumped me out, and after 30-40 minutes I went out onto the carpet again. It all depends on the person himself, on his character, will. I have never become limp.

– You have only two losses in your career. Annoyed about this?
– The first time I lost at the USSR Spartakiad, I was still very young. And the second one – at the World Championship. I went there with an injury – a torn leg. I haven’t trained for ten days. In addition, the weight drove. But then I analyzed the mistakes and put everyone in their place for the next year. Since then I have not lost to anyone. It is perhaps for the best that these defeats were. They gave an incentive to work even more on themselves. But still, he won victories at seven world championships … God grant everyone! Sometimes, however, I regret that, winning over opponents who prepared so much, I took away the joy of triumph from them.

– Do you believe in fate?
– Yes, I do. One elderly woman in her youth told me: “Your future is in your hands.” And I believed that I could achieve whatever I wanted. You see, maybe fate is that I found a sport in which I reached great heights. Although I was engaged in Greco-Roman wrestling, and sambo, and hammer throwing … But I ended up where I felt like a fish in water.

– If in your time there were three more Olympic champions in wrestling, would you continue your career in order to participate in one more major games of the four years and become the best?
– No, my health did not allow me. There were deviations with the heart. After the flu while serving in the army in 1959, they brought me straight from the hospital to the carpet. I have such a nature – always and under any circumstances to fight to the last. This is my mistake. I fought. So I got heart problems. What can you do, this is the fate.

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