In 1976 in Montreal, Nikolay Balboshin, who competed in the Greco-Roman heavyweight class his entire career, put on one of the most dominating displays ever in Olympic wrestling. He had five matches and won all of them by pins, needing only 16 minutes, 48 seconds, to complete them. At the 1980 Olympics, where Balboshin was the Soviet flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony, he was also heavily favored to win the heavyweight gold, but had to withdrew from competition after two rounds, when he seriously injured his shoulder in a match against Vasile Andrei. It took more than two years for Balboshin to recover from that injury and, after returning to sports in 1983, he won his fifth Soviet title in 1984 and was chosen for the Soviet 1984 Olympic team. The Soviet boycott put an end to his hopes of competing at a third Olympics, however, and Balboshin retired.
Balboshin was considered the world’s best Greco-Roman heavyweight wrestler during the 1970s and rarely lost a match. In addition to his Olympic gold, Balboshin was World Champion in 1973-74 and 1977-79 and European Champion in 1973, 1975-79. He also won silver at the 1974 European Championships and was fourth at the 1975 Worlds. He won five Soviet titles (1973, 1977, 1980, 1983-84). After finishing his sporting career, Balboshin worked as a wrestling coach. He was inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.