5 Greatest Olympic Wrestlers
The five greatest Olympic wrestlers of all time come from both of the sport's disciplines in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Each of the following athletes has won multiple Olympic and World Championship gold medals and were dominant in their weight class for many years. In alphabetical order:
- Bruce Baumgartner is one of the five greatest Olympic wrestlers of all time and the only American on the list. Competing in freestyle at 130 kg, Baumgartner won two Olympic gold medals in 1984 an 1992 and three World Championship gold medals in 1986, 1993, and 1995. Baumgartner also won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics. In addition to his World Championship gold medals, Baumgartner also collected two silver and four bronze medals during the course of his career. Baumgartner is tied for the wrestler with most Olympic and World Championship medals with thirteen.
- Arsen Fadzayev also is one of the five greatest Olympic wrestlers. Competing in freestyle at three Olympic Games from 1988 through 1996, Fadzayev wrestled for the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Uzbekistan at 68 kg. Fadzayev won gold medals in 1988 and 1992 and six World Championship gold medals during the course of his career. He also won one silver World Championship medal, bringing his total Olympic and World Championship medal count to nine.
- Aleksandr Kareline is considered one of the greatest Olympic wrestlers of all time and arguably the most dominant. Wrestling in Greco-Roman at 130 kg for Russia, Kareline won three Olympic gold medals and nine world gold medals during his career. He also won a silver medal at the Olympic Games when he was defeated by American Rulon Gardner. His defeat at the 2000 Olympic Games was the first in 13 years for Kareline, and the first time anyone scored a point on him in 13 years. Kareline is tied with Baumgartner for the wrestler with the most Olympic and World Championship medals at thirteen.
- Alexander Medved is one of the five greatest Olympic wrestlers because the Belarussian was the first to win thee Olympic gold medals, beginning with the 1964 Olympic Games and ending with the 1972 games. A freestyle wrestler in the 97kg weight class, Medved also won nine World Championship medals: seven gold, one silver, and one bronze. His total Olympic and World Championship medal count sits at twelve.
- Buvaisar Saitiev is one of the five greatest Olympic Wrestlers because he has amassed thee Olympic gold medals in 1996, 2004 and 2008, as well as six World Championship gold medals. Saitiev has competed in the 74kg or 76kg weight class for Russia in four Olympic Games and finished ninth in 2000, the only year he did not win gold. In all, Saitiev has grabbed twelve medals-all gold-in Olympic and World Championship competition.
FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame. www.fila-wrestling.com/halloffame