Throughout the history of athletics and sports, there have been many intimidating and powerful individuals. But if you stack each and every one of them in a line at their prime, no one is going to be more imposing or frightening than Alexander Karelin. Here in this article I will outline who he is, what he did and more.
Alexander Karelin is a former and retired Soviet Union and Russoian Greco-Roman wrestler who is considered the best wrestler of all time. Before getting into his accomplishments and why he is considered the best wrestler and one of the scariest men on the planet, we’ll take a look at his history. Karelin was born in Russia in 1967 and was born at 12 lbs, which was foreshadowing about just how big he would become. By the time he was fully grown, Karelin stood a towering 6’3 and weighed over 280 lbs of pure muscle. Though he was blessed with size, he needed to work very hard for his skills and strength. His work ethic was second to none and he is actually said to have progressed from being able to do zero pull ups when he started to eventually being able to do 42 in one session. He was noted in wrestling for his incredible strength, which combined with his quickness and cardio, made him basically the perfect specimen in wrestling. His terrifying “Karelin Lift” was one of the best throws in wrestling and it was amazing to watch him pick up and violently slam 300 lb men. It was his strength, skills and immense intensity in the circle that made this man the scariest.
Now that we know about the man and his immense skillset, let’s take a look at his laundry list of accomplishments. Karelin began training in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1981 and would soon become a hero in Russia. After dominating the amateur scene, he made the jump to international competition in the mid-80s. Once there, he continued his dominance as he miraculously went undefeated for 13 years from 1987-2000. This run included three Olympic gold medals that he won in Seoul (1988 Olympics), Barcelona (1992 Olympics) and Atlanta (1996 Olympics). In addition to this, he won dozens of World and European Championships.
His undefeated streak ended in crazy fashion as he lost to a huge underdog in the gold medal match at the Sydney Olympics. The match was hotly contested and Karelin ended up losing to Rulon Gardner by a 0-1 score and had to settle for his first Silver medal and loss in over a decade.
Despite this upset loss, it does not at all diminish the legacy of Karelin. By the time he retired from competition in 200, he held an almost unfathomable wrestling record of 887 wins and 2 losses. With a record like that against the type of competition he faced off against, it is no surprise he is considered far and away the best wrestler of all time, and with a gaze and body like that, I’m shocked anyone agreed to fight him in the first place.