In the world of amateur wrestling there is one name worthy of inspiring actual fear. Abdulrashid Sadulaev, known as “The Russian Tank” is an otherworldly athlete who has been dominating his entire career. Now, competing in the 97 kg division, he’s set his sights on another Olympic gold medal — and it might be the safest bet in the entire games.
That sounds like a bold claim, and I know it is. Sadulaev WILL win the gold medal at 97 kilos and it’s impossible to imagine he won’t. Why? Well, his career record sits at a preposterous 135-2 right now. He hasn’t lost a match in four years. This Russian tank doesn’t break.
Sadulaev began wrestling at the age of 13, and won a regional championship almost immediately after he began competing. It was quickly apparent he was a gifted boy, and began training at the Gamid Gamidov Wrestling Club, a breeding ground for Russian Olympians.
With this training came success, lots of it. Sadulaev won a junior world championship in 2012, and graduated to adult competition in 2014 — when he was 18. He won the adult world championship in his first attempt, then again in 2015, before claiming Olympic gold at Rio in 2016.
All the while he was dominating smaller events. The European Championships, European Games, Russian Nationals — all dominated by the Tank. His only major blemish on his record came in the 2017 World Championship finals when USA’s Kyle Snyder beat him 6-5 to win gold, handing Sadulaev the second loss of his career. The Russian hasn’t lost since.
Yes, it’s a foregone conclusion that Sadulaev will win gold, outside of some wild improbability, but it’s worth tuning in to see the GOAT in action.
How to watch Abdulrashid Sadulaev in Tokyo
- Men’s freestyle wrestling gold medal match: Thursday, August 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET