Igor Kanygin was one of the world’s best Greco-Roman light-heavyweight wrestlers in the first part of the 1980s, although he never won the highest prize available, Olympic gold. Kanygin, who took up wrestling in 1968, made his international début at the 1978 European Championships, where he finished ninth. He won silver at the 1980 Olympics after losing to Norbert Növényi in the final round and missed the 1984 Olympics, and a probable gold medal, due to the Soviet boycott. In 1984 he won gold at the Friendship Games by beating Növényi in the final round. In addition to his Olympic silver medal, Kanygin won the World title in 1981 and 1983, taking silver in 1985 and bronze in 1982, and European titles in 1980, 1982-83 and 1985, while taking silver in 1984. He also won the 1982 World Cup and the 1985 World Super Championships. In 1986 Kanygin switched to heavyweight, but with less success. Although Kanygin won the 1986 World Cup, he placed only fifth at the 1987 Europeans and was later not selected for the Soviet 1988 Olympics team, after which he retired. Domestically, Kanygin won four Soviet titles: in 1980, 1982 and 1984 in light-heavyweight and in 1987 in heavyweight. After finishing his sporting career, Kanygin worked as a wrestling coach, at first in his native Belarus and later in Denmark. Since 1995, an annual Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in his honor has been held in Vitebsk.