Ivan Poddubny

(biography, photos, videos) Ivan Poddubny

photograph of Ivan Poddubny

  • Name: Ivan ( Ivan Poddubny )
  • Date of birth: 26 September 1871.
  • Age: 77 years
  • Date of death: 8 Aug 1949
  • Place of birth: page Bogoduhovka, Russia
  • Height: 185
  • Activity: wrestler, circus performer, promoter sports
  • Marital status: married to Maria Mashinoi

    Ivan Poddubny: a biography

    Ivan Poddubny – a man of legend, whose performances gathered full houses in Russia, France, Italy, Germany, America.

    He was born on the 26th of September (old style) 1871 in the village bogoduhovka of Poltava province. His remarkable physical strength Ivan had inherited from his father, a descendant of the Zaporozhye Cossacks. From childhood he was accustomed to hard agricultural work, with 12 years rotten.

    His mother Ivana was a good voice. Delicate ear for music was passed to his son. On Sundays hero Poddubny sang in the Church choir.

    In 22 years the guy went from his native village in Crimea — on this step it pushed the love. Lena grew up in a wealthy family, so her father was against the marriage of his daughter with the poor Poddubny. Ivan wanted to make a lot of money to get rich and return to the girl, but soon after leaving, he forgot about it.

    Three years, the future athlete was working as a longshoreman in the ports of Sevastopol and Feodosiya. There, he met sailors who told him about the training system.


    For the first time in the ring he came in 1896, when the Crimea has toured circus Beskaravayny. Longshoreman Ivan watched with interest the performances of the athletes. After the number of ceremonies addressed the audience inviting them to take part in the match. Poddubny came out and surpassed all titled athletes who were «in the zone». Beginning his wrestling career began.

    In 1903 the Chairman of the society of athletes in St. Petersburg invited Ivan to Podobnosti in the world championship in Paris. For three months he had to master the French style of wrestling. The training was intense.

    In Paris «Russian bear» was opposed to titled athletes. He has won 11 fights, but lost to the Frenchman Bush. Before the meeting, Bush went to the trick – smeared body oil to his opponent’s hand glided over him. The judges awarded the victory to Bush, and Ivan Poddubny was a lesson for life. Since then, he became a staunch opponent of dirty tricks in the ring.

    In 1905 in Paris again hosted the international championship — Ivan triumphantly won it. In the next three years a series of victories continued. Poddubniy invited to competitions in different countries. Journalists wrote about him not only as the «champion of Champions».

    The life of a hero passed on the road, but he dreamed of his own house, the family, and in 1910 he decided to retire from the sport.


    He returned to the circus ring at 42 years old, worked in Zhitomir, and then in Kerch. In 1922, when Ivan Poddubny was 51 years, he was invited into the troupe of the Moscow circus. After a medical examination the doctors said that the athlete in perfect health, there are no contraindications.

    Then he worked in the St. Petersburg circus. The difficult financial situation forced the Ivan Poddubny to accept on tour in Germany and America. His performance was sold out, but in 1927, the athlete decided to return to Russia.

    He performed in the circus to 70 years, and it was his personal best.

    Personal life

    His first love to the girl of his native village was fleeting. Rather not love, but youthful infatuation.

    The second time he fell in love with kanatohodka Emilia. The girl was older and more experienced Ivan, it subtly played on his senses, forced the athlete to indulge their whims and caprices. Soon on the horizon Emilia came a rich boyfriend, with whom she left.

    After the flight of Emilia, Ivan moved to Kiev. Here he met with a fragile gymnast Masha. Petite girl reciprocated his feelings. They made plans for the future, but fate decreed otherwise. During the performance she fell off the trapeze and broke.

    In 40 years, Ivan married the first time. His wife was gorgeous Antonina Kvitko-Fomenko. The couple bought a plot of land, built a house and started farming. Their marriage lasted 7 years, until Antonina had not met the officer and got away with it is framebody toured in Odessa. A few years Antonina returned to her husband, but he don’t forgive her.

    His latest love – Masanina widow Mary, the mother of his pupil. Ivan Poddubny was struck by her beauty and sensuality. The couple lived in Yeisk, on the Azov sea coast, where he bought a home after the American tour of the athlete. Maria Russian Bogatyr lived until death.


    Poddubny died 8 August 1945 from a heart attack. Food rations, which were given in those years, his body is not enough for normal functioning.

    After the death of the champion wife can pay for a simple grave without a monument. And only when the press wrote that the champion rests in the grave, overgrown with weeds, a monument to Ivan Poddubny. The inscription on the gravestone reads: «Here lies the Russian hero».


    Ivan Poddubny

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