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“Is he the first Olympic champion?” The Russian sculptor surprised Schwarzenegger himself

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 15:41:26

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Yuri Tyukalov left his mark not only in the history of sports, but also in art.

On another visit to Russia, the multiple holder of the title “Mr. Olympia” Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at that time was already the governor of California, was presented with a bust of Peter the Great: those who met knew that the guest honored the works of collected art. When Schwarzenegger asked about the author of the work, he was simply struck by the fact that in Russia Yuri Tyukalov, who could have turned 93 today, is known primarily as a sports legend, and not as a sculptor.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

a series of tests

As a child, like all Leningrad children of that time, Yuri had to pass a terrible test – the blockade. During all the time, he and his mother remained in the besieged city. They wanted to evacuate them three times, but each time something interfered, and for the third time he saved the lives of the Tyukalovs. The town they wanted to take the family to was soon captured by the enemy. Tyukalov knew victory at the age of fourteen, having received the medal “For the defense of Leningrad” for his work during the war. So Yuri’s character was truly iron.

road to success

Tyukalov dreamed of becoming a football player, but as a result found himself in another section, taking up rowing. Along the way, Yuri entered the Higher School of Art and Industry named after Vera Mukhina. There, they watched the boy’s sports activities, to put it mildly, disapprovingly, and Tyukalov literally had to run away from school for training. One way or another, Yuri made it to the national team without giving up his specialty studies.

photo by: RIA Novosti

At the pre-Olympic training camp in Georgia, another facet of Tyukalov’s talent appeared – he played in the production of the comedy “The Forest” by Alexander Ostrovsky. In Helsinki, at the 1952 Olympic Games, the first for the USSR team, he entered the rank of a medal contender. And he managed to win the first gold for our country in rowing, ahead of Australian Mervyn Wood in the individual competition.

In Melbourne, the confrontation between Tyukalov and Wood continued, only now in the competition of “two”. Yuri paired with Alexander Berkutov finished first while the Aussies settled for bronze.

photo by: RIA Novosti

Tyukalov could also become a three-time Olympic champion – an unfortunate miscalculation of the organizers of the Games in Rome intervened. Before the semi-final regatta, they were mistakenly transferred to the sailing regatta venue. Soviet athletes barely made it to the start, they came second, and when their future medal rivals were already resting, they had to overcome an additional round of competition. As a result, in the final, the rested Czechoslovakians Pavel Schmidt and Vaclav Kozak were faster – Tyukalov and Berkutov took silver.

gift to hometown

After completing his sports career, Yuri began to devote more time to the second most important business of his life. Even after the victory in Helsinki, he bought a Swedish minting tool with the modest prize he received, which eventually served him his whole life. Subsequently, the famous sculptor Mikhail Anikushin attracted him to work on the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad.

photo by: RIA Novosti

There are many other remarkable works of art in Tyukalov’s creative biography. Sculptor, rower, actor, defender of the Fatherland – all this is about Yuri Tyukalov, a person of great talent, the memory of which will remain in the hearts of people for many years.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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