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Most Physically Gifted Wrestlers of All Time

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4 hours ago, Jim L said:

I remember a story about Gibson going through Marine basic training with no intention of continuing his wrestling career and when he broke the record for the obstacle course at 200+lbs, the Marines learned about his wrestling background and got him back wrestling again.  

Also, He was still at the Olympic Greco Roman trials into his late 40s.

 

On 8/2/2020 at 11:25 AM, fullnelson said:

All those mentioned are certainly worthy candidates, but I'll add another who should/would have been the only wrestler in the world to have won 3 World titles in 3 different styles. 

In 1982 I witnessed Greg Gibson do 30 pull-ups AFTER an hour+ practice. Greg won World Championships in Greco and Sambo, and was royally screwed in 1981 World Freestyle Finals, when he gutted the East German 3x, only to have the mat judges rule 2&2 each time resulting in an 11-10  heartbreaking loss. He and Mark Schultz had the best gutwrenchs in US history imo.

Not to nit-pick, but Sgt Gibson won a World MILITARY Championship in Greco ( just being clear), and 2nd in the Olympics in Greco. But yes, he was feared throughout the land with his unstoppable gut-wrench. A true specimen of a man.

 

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:03 AM, MPC said:

Karelin has to be at the top of the list- no one has ever been able to replicate his lift dominance

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Probably gonna get some flak for this but I can't help but think that some of karelins physical gifts were man made. I mean just look at him. And he was from the USSR. I mean it's not out of the realm of possibility.

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On 8/1/2020 at 8:51 PM, BigTimeFan said:

I’m going to add Sergei Belaglazov. Incredible from where position. Quick. Strong. Huge tank. 

Sergei had many skills as well....he could attack the head, the legs, go upper body.....the total package, and yes HUGE gas tank....he was a machine.  Also, I have a hard time mentioning Sergei without mentioning Fadzaev.  Credentials are basically identical, team mates competing in the same time frame....2 of the greatest of all time.

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7 hours ago, BadgerMon said:

 

Not to nit-pick, but Sgt Gibson won a World MILITARY Championship in Greco ( just being clear), and 2nd in the Olympics in Greco. But yes, he was feared throughout the land with his unstoppable gut-wrench. A true specimen of a man.

 

As long as were on the subject of Greg Gibson, he also wrestled freestyle, and in 1987 wrestled Bill Scherr in the US Open/National Championship....it went overtime, and there was no time limit then...this video doesn't show exactly how long the match lasted, but the video is about 18 minutes long....I think that's about how long the match lasted .....I do have it in my video library and have watched it a few times, but it's been awhile.....enjoy.  Fadz                                       https://www.flowrestling.org/video/5098670-1987-us-nationals-bill-scherr-vs-greg-gibson

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As someone else alluded, "physically gifted" means more than raw or preternatural strength, which is obviously very important, especially in youth when there can be huge differences within the same age group.

Strength can also be both added over time to one's body and arsenal with weight training and countered (mitigated) by an opponent's other abilities (acquired and/or "gifted" from birth).  

Speed and quickness (e.g., fast twitch muscles); athleticism (e.g., gymnastic ability); proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of one's body) along with balance and cooperation; VO2 Max (volume of maximum oxygen intake and thus endurance),  and flexibility, among other traits,  seem to have a large innate or genetic dimension to them as "physical gifts" even if they can be improved to a degree through effort, work, training, and practice.  

There is an interesting debate, I think, about how much grit (determination; will power), for example, can be learned or acquired.  

In  terms of current or recent wrestlers, guys like Dake, Cox, Borroughs, and Nickal (athleticism); Askren, Yianni, and Chamizo (proprioception); RBY, John Smith (speed and quickness), Taylor and Nolf (VO2/endurance) come to mind, among numerous others.

Some high level combination of the above might be a basic "formula" to get to an elite level when it is combined with technique, drive, good coaching and great mat partners, and other key ingredients. 

It's hard to think of many wrestlers who possessed (or possess) extremely high "gifts" (talents, abilities) in ALL of these areas: Cael Sanderson maybe in folk wrestling?;  or guys like Sadulaev internationally in freestyle perhaps?

Edited by dmm53

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Since Greco is only upper body, hard to include folks like Karelin.  Was he quick, fluid, athletic...or just insanely strong? I mean Rulon was a fat lard and beat him, in possibly the most boring big match ever.  
 

 

 

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On 8/5/2020 at 1:48 PM, Tom Riddle said:

 Aleksandr Karelin
Buvaisar Satiev

Both have their own values. Great wrestler of their times. 

I was going to mention Saitiev, but I couldn't come up with a physical gift bestowed upon him.  Did you come up with one? 

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SIAP but Kevin Randleman deserves some mention. Was an Ohio state track finalist in HS. How many times can you say that about a wrestler? Also played football for 4 years as a starter. Wrestled in college at 177 then went huge to 225 in MMA. Was a champion in both...I can still remember him slamming Fedor to the mat and thinking he just snapped  his neck (2:25 below).

With his physical talents there is no doubt in my mind he could have played football at Ohio State and possibly the NFL.

Unfortunately his life was cut short at the age of 44 from pneumonia.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Randleman

 

 

Edited by DocBZ

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4 hours ago, El lucador said:

Anyone remember Erlan Van Lidth. He was a pretty amazing individual.
Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

Erland van Lidth de Jeude

He'd sing the anthem before the finals like J'Den.

Edited by gimpeltf

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22 hours ago, El lucador said:

Anyone remember Erlan Van Lidth. He was a pretty amazing individual.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

He also supposedly pinned Jeff Blatnick in college, but probably does not belong on a list of the most physically gifted wrestlers

Edited by Jim L

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14 hours ago, Jim L said:

He also supposedly pinned Jeff Blatnick in college, but probably does not belong on a list of the most physically gifted wrestlers

After Tab Thacker was mentioned I couldn't help but bring him up.

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Sports Illustrated
May 13, 1991

During and early afternoon in Pittsburgh, Alexander Karelin, 23 years old and the most dominating wrestler in the world, is relaxing on a hotel-lobby couch. It is a substantial piece of furniture, and that is a good thing; the 6 ft. 3 in. Karelin's 290 pounds demand it. He has come to Pennsylvania from the Soviet Union for an exhibition match. Nobody passing through the lobby is paying him much attention. "Men of my size are usually not flexible," says Karelin. A mischievous expression spreads across the vast plain of his face.

He rises and walks to a chandelier hanging perhaps eight feet above the floor. Lifting his right leg straight up above his head, he gives the chandelier a slight nudge with his size-15 sneaker. Now everyone has noticed him. "What's that man doing?" a woman screams. Karelin pads back to the couch, wiggles both of the ears that protrude like funnels from the sides of his head, looks up at the chandelier swinging gently back and forth, and grins like a schoolboy.

"I didn't like myself before I began wrestling," he says later over a meal of pizza (nine slices) and apple juice (six large glasses). "Wrestling helped me to be at ease. Occasionally, I still wish for the privacy of being a little fellow nobody sees. Teenagers sneer, 'Look at this guy! The legs! The ears!' And older people see my face and say, 'My god! Look, quick! A criminal!' "

Karelin sighs, uncrossing his mammoth legs. "I'm also a favorite of drunkards and others who seek to prove their strength by confronting me," he says. "Of course, I am grateful for my strength. It makes me self-sufficient. When I bought a refrigerator, I carried it myself up the stairs to my apartment on the eighth floor. Always, though, I am conscious that I am not a typical man. I can win a wrestling competition with a decent enough score, but because I am not typical, I must win in atypical ways."

Edited by GoNotQuietly

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Valentine Jordanov is the strongest wrestler pound for pound that I ever saw; ask anyone with experience/knowledge of his feats (particularly anyone who was working out at Foxcatcher when he was in the room)- wiry, sinewy, strength. B Satiev had similar strength as well as great flexibility (often highly underrated as an advantage/asset)

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9 hours ago, Plasmodium said:

He was late thirties in this pic? 

I

That is pretty much what I looked like in my late thirties, except I am white, and was a little over weight and did not much muscle definition, but I did have a receding hairline, so if you put me in a USA singlet next to him we would have been mistaken for twins

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On 8/7/2020 at 10:02 AM, tightwaist said:

Since Greco is only upper body, hard to include folks like Karelin.  Was he quick, fluid, athletic...or just insanely strong? I mean Rulon was a fat lard and beat him, in possibly the most boring big match ever.  
 

 

 

Rulon didn't look great, but had tremendous cardio.  The week of the 2000 Olympic trials, as he was putting the final touches on his preparation, I watched him drill hard and non-stop with two different wrestlers (the partners alternated on Rulon).  He would take one down, and the next would be in his face.  There was non-stop motion, non-stop attacking from Rulon,  and it was really pretty impressive.  This went on for 20-30 minutes and he wasn't particularly gassed after.

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