Yiorgos Chatzioannidis

Olympic Medals

Bronze medal, July 1980, Giorgos Chatzioannidis, cat. 62kg. Freestyle wrestling. Moscow 1980

the year 1980 started very badly for Giorgos Chatzioannidis, who felt pain in his leg, but also had gained so much weight that it was impossible to compete again in the 57kg category. He eventually travelled to Moscow and planned to stay there after the Games to have surgery performed by Soviet doctor Mironova. But luck was on his side, he competed in the 62 kg class and had 12 opponents. The draw was very helpful and the Greek champion started with three wins over British Aspen, Cameroonian Manga and Vietnamese Tinh Phi. The continuation was not pleasant, as many defeats pushed him out of the medal ranks and now everything was measured by the abilities of his opponents. He lost to Cascaret (Cuba), Abushev (S. Union) and Doukov (Bulgaria). If Abushev defeated Cascaret and Doukov defeated Roumanian Suteu in the last matches, Giorgos Chatzioannidis would win the bronze medal. Both were favourites, they won and Greece added another medal to its collection.

The final ranking Abushev (S.Union) Doukov (Bulgaria) Chatzioannidis (Greece) Cascaret(Cuba) Suteu (Romania) Nasanjargal Ölziibayaryn (Mongolia) Aspen (M.Britain) Szalontai (Hungary).

They said..

“I had signed up for the 57kg, but due to some issues I wanted to play in the 62kg. I then went to the HOC and said, “I am 28 years old, I have three kids, tell me if I can go to the Olympics”. I was sent and no one lost. Despite the pain in my leg, I fought as best I could. Luck also helped a little and I got the medal. I almost went crazy with joy. The medal came a few days after Mygiakis’ gold and the excitement in the Greek delegation was unbelievable. On the evening of the final, the Greek Embassy gave a reception in my honor, everyone wore suits and ties, and I came straight out of the stadium, sweaty, in my tracksuit and with my medal. Those were amazing moments that I will never forget in my life.”

July 1980