Aleksandr Medved, a giant Soviet who wrestled in the unlimited class for much of his career, held the record for the most world and Olympic championships won in wrestling, 10, (although it was later bettered by Aleksandr Karelin), and is considered by some to be the greatest freestyle wrestler ever. Exclusively a freestyler, Medved made his international début at the 1961 World Championships, where he won bronze in the middleweight, but then he switched to light-heavyweight. His first title was in 1962 when he won the World Championships. He later won Olympic gold as a light-heavyweight (1964) and super-heavyweight (1968, 1972). His World Championships came at light-heavyweight (1962, 1963, and 1966), and super-heavy (1967, 1969, 1970, and 1971). He was European Champion in 1966, 1968, and 1972, competing less often at that meet. He was a Soviet Champion in 1961-63 and 1966-70. As a super-heavyweight, Medved’s record is more impressive when one considers that he was small for that class (his maximum weight was about 110 kg. [242 lbs.]), usually wrestling much heavier opponents. He carried the Soviet flag at the opening ceremony of the 1972 Olympics and recited the Officials’ Oath at the Opening Ceremony of the 1980 Olympics.
After finishing his sporting career in 1972, Medved worked as a lecturer at the Minsk Radioengineering Institute (now Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics) and as a wrestling coach. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Medved became vice-president of the Belorussian National Olympic Committee and head of the Inter-University Department of Sport Excellence of the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics. Medved also coached the Belorussian freestyle wrestling team and carried the Belorussian flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics. In 2001 Medved was chosen as the best Belorussian athlete of the 20th century and, since 1970, an annual wrestling tournament in his honor has been held in Minsk. In 2003 Medved was one of the first 10 inductees elected to the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame.