Ivan Poddubnyi

Poddubnyi, Ivan Maksimovich


Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1871, in the village of Bogodukhovka, in what is now Zolotonosha Raion, Cherkassy Oblast; died Aug. 8, 1949, in Eisk. Russian professional wrestler and athlete. Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1939) and Honored Master of Sports (1945).

From 1893 to 1896, Poddubnyi worked as a longshoreman in Sevastopol’ and Feodosiia. He began performing with the circus as a weightlifter and wrestler in 1897; he first practiced Russian-style belt wrestling, turning in 1903 to Greco-Roman and French wrestling. Between 1905 and 1908 he won the major world championships in professional Greco-Roman wrestling, which were held in Paris. Although he lost some individual matches, Poddubnyi did not lose a single championship in his 40-year career. He performed in 50 cities in 14 foreign countries and received world recognition as the “champion of champions” and “the Russian giant.” He was 184 cm tall, weighed 118 kg, and had a chest measurement of 134 cm. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


References in periodicals archive ?
McReynolds also vividly depicts circus/wrestling champions like Ivan Poddubnyi (a peasant from Odessa who grew "a thick mustache so that he would look the part of the Cossack that he was") (135), and the Estonian Georg Lurikh, who projected himself as both scholar and gentleman, and embellished his reputation as a ladies' man by advertising himself in publicity shots "sporting .