The 1964 Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling, Alexander Ivanitsky, was found dead in a forest near Moscow. A former athlete and head of sports television in the USSR allegedly drowned in the river. Three days before that, he left the house for mushrooms and did not return. Ivanitsky is one of those who made a revolution in the world of wrestling. With his successes in the international arena, he proved that technology is much more important to heavyweights than mass.
“Unfortunately, Ivanitsky died. His body was found, “- quoted a representative of the TASS volunteers.
Law enforcement sources clarified that the body of the four-time world champion and former chief editor of sports programs of the USSR State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company was found in the river. The investigation began to check the fact of his death.
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“He drowned. According to preliminary data, Ivanitsky’s death is not of a criminal nature, ”the agency’s source said.
On the eve it became known that Ivanitsky had disappeared not far from the Moscow region Ruza. On July 22, he went into the forest for mushrooms and never returned. During a search operation, which involved police officers, volunteers, divers and rescuers with a helicopter, a basin with his belongings and a telephone was found near the Veyne River. His son Vladimir suggested that the former athlete could have heart problems when he entered the water.
Condolences on the death of Ivanitsky were expressed by the Russian Wrestling Federation, the All-Russian Sambo Federation and the Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov. Three-time Olympic champion Alexander Medved, who performed with the deceased at the same time, admitted that he was surprised by the tragedy that had occurred.
“We saw him for the last time during the European Championship, he came to Makhachkala. We constantly kept in touch with his son Volodya, he came to my anniversary. With great regret I learned about the incident. He was a strong, powerful, healthy person who seriously observed the regime, looked after himself. I’m just wondering how this could have happened … I’m sorry that I won’t be able to attend his funeral, I myself am now in the hospital. We were friends, we were in the same team, we won the first Olympics together, we were together at the Games in 1980. I’m sorry, ”said the Bear.
Ivanitsky was born in 1937 in the Donetsk region, after which his family moved to Leningrad. After the start of the blockade of the city during the Great Patriotic War, he was evacuated, but returned back when the hostilities ended. At the age of 17, Ivanitsky, whose height at that time reached 190 cm, was persuaded to enroll in the wrestling section. A month later, he unexpectedly became the champion of Leningrad in sambo.
Together with Medved, Ivanitsky made a revolution in wrestling. Together they showed that for success in the most difficult categories, one does not need to rely on a huge mass – at that time, wrestlers could weigh up to 200 kg, like the American Chris Taylor. Ivanitskiy slightly exceeded the weight required for the competition and kept himself in excellent physical shape, thanks to which he beat much heavier opponents.
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Ivanitsky won the world championships in 1962 and 1963, after which he became the main favorite of the Tokyo Olympics. Together with the Bulgarian Lyutvi Akhmedov, he passed the preliminary bouts in the weight category over 97 kg without defeat and met him in the final for gold. There was a draw between them, and Ivanitskiy was declared the champion by the amount of previously scored penalty points.
After that, he confirmed his class at the next two world championships. For the entire time of his performances in the international arena, Ivanitskiy did not concede a single point to foreign rivals, which is a unique case for the world struggle.
In 1967 Ivanitsky finished his sports career and took up journalism. In 1973 he became editor-in-chief of the chief editorial board of sports programs of the USSR State Radio and Television and was responsible for the development of sports television throughout the country until 1991. After that, he continued to work on Russian TV channels.
Ivanitsky passed away on the days of the 40th anniversary of the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, to which he was directly involved. It was the former wrestler who organized broadcasting from the competition for the whole world, which no one in the USSR had ever done before. Especially for this Ivanitsky, for four years, selected and trained directors familiar with the specifics of sports in order to show the Moscow competitions from the best side. He also brought into fashion the use of close-ups during sports broadcasts and himself commented on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.