Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling Alexei Shumakov and legendary freestyle wrestler Ivan Yarygin had a strong friendship.
This is an interview with Alexei Vasilyevich we recorded during our press tour to Sizuya – Yarygin’s small homeland. Shumakov has been here more than once, and on each of his visits, he certainly first of all visits the temple that Ivan built in memory of his mother Evdokia. Well, this visit coincided with the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus. Therefore, as soon as we unloaded the bus together, Shumakov hurried to the church.
“The place here is special – prayerful,” shares Alexey Vasilyevich. – All flows of energy are acutely felt. For me, attending a temple is getting a charge for life, a charge for communicating with my angels. I am happy with this trip to the holy place that God gave it to me. I went back to the cemetery, bowed to the ashes of all Ivan’s relatives. ”
– Alexey Vasilyevich, how did your friendship with Ivan begin?
– Our acquaintance took place when Ivan returned from Munich in the status of the first Olympic champion in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. On this occasion, an evening of celebration took place, and that’s where we met. At that time, it was 1972, I became the champion of the Soviet Union, entered the national team, so we often crossed paths at the training camp. After all, both the freestyle wrestlers and the classics practically trained at the same base. We trained together for the Olympic Games in Montreal. In addition, they performed in the same countries at the European Championships. In Spain, Germany, then Germany, where I became the second. And Vanya also performed a little unsuccessfully there. We, the classics, were the first to arrive in Montreal after the preparation for the Games, followed by the freestyle wrestlers. I remember Vanya and I went out onto the balcony, he hugged me to him, grabbed his head with his arms and said: “Leshenka, look, you lost in Germany, and I, in Spain you lost again, and I was out of luck. Let’s be more serious here, otherwise I’ll unscrew my head. ” (Laughs.) Of course, after such a parting word, I had to win. Vanya won next. This is our story. (Laughs.) And when I met my future wife Nina, the first people to whom we came with her was the Yarygin family. We have carried this acquaintance, this friendship throughout our lives. And when everyone still lived in Krasnoyarsk, and already when Ivan and his family moved to Moscow. If we came to the capital, we always came to visit the Yarygins. When they were in Krasnoyarsk, they visited us, they never forgot. Our children still keep in touch, and Natasha and I are in touch. Here we have Olympic, Siberian friendship, it is still in our souls.
– When did you first visit Sizoy?
– I was here at the first tournament of Ivan Yarygin. Then Krasnoyarsk was a closed city, and foreigners were prohibited from entering. Therefore, the first competition took place here in Sizoy. I also came here, I was already at the coaching job, I was involved in refereeing. And as a gift to this tournament on the way, in the Khakass steppes, he bought a ram and brought it. The tournament was attended by participants from different countries, everything here was a wonder, exotic: a Russian bath with contrasting baths, and Russian cuisine. We made shashlik out of the ram and treated them to foreign guests, gave them goat milk. In general, the competition turned out to be solid, representatives from other countries liked everything very much. This is how the path of the Yaryginsky tournament began, which has been going on for many years in Krasnoyarsk, despite all the intrigues of the Muscovites, Siberia does not give it back.
Today the Yaryginsky tournament is a brand of Krasnoyarsk, it is an integral part of the city and the region. Preparation for it begins long before the start, and even Africa comes to compete for medals. Where else if not in Krasnoyarsk, representatives of other countries can see and feel what real Siberia is with its Epiphany frosts. At first I was a judge at a tournament, then I became an honorary guest, I did not miss almost a single Grand Prix.
– By the way, this year your Shumakov tournament will celebrate its anniversary.
– Yes, today I have a double anniversary. I will turn 70 in September, and I spent half of this life on the tournament, it will be held for the 35th time. I am also preparing, friends and partners are helping, now we are communicating with them, discussing all the details. I am glad that I did not betray Siberia, my native Krasnoyarsk. If I were in another city, I don’t know, they would have supported me the way they do here. And I could not have been without this nature, without my beloved city, which is now preparing for the Universiade, and you can feel it. Yes, there are certain difficulties, but how without them when preparing for an event of this magnitude. I think we can handle all this, and everything will work out for us.
– Ivan Yarygin was an avid fisherman, you are also a great lover of fishing and hunting, have you ever fished together?
– You know, somehow we couldn’t go fishing together. Ivan has a lot of things to do, I had enough of my own worries, this is coaching work, and refereeing, and scientific activities, training camps, competitions. As for fishing and hunting, I had, let’s say, my troubles. Ivan and I have a lot in common, I was born on September 7, he was born on November 7, he was born in Sizoy, and I was born to the north, where the Biryusa river is, in the village of Pochet, Aban district. We also have a good taiga, with hunting huts, taiga rivulets, berries – in a word, Siberian rich nature. My childhood was the same as that of Ivan – a village with rural labor. We also planted potatoes, made hay, looked after livestock.
I have already covered my rifle, I haven’t been shooting for seven years, I don’t go to the taiga, because hunting is not an easy job, it’s not just a rest. In the taiga, in the windbreak, spending the night in natural conditions – at my age it is already difficult, but, I confess, it still pulls. I often remember how I used to hunt with my grandfather’s Berdan as a student, how I caught golden crucians on Lake Plakhino. Ivan and I found here not just fishing, not just relaxation. We were charged with the energy of our small homeland. Here we recovered from all failures, from all failures.
– Did you run together on the Yaryginskaya trail on Stolby?
– We still had different disciplines, so our trainings rarely coincided. Personally, I often ran along this path. I was an inveterate columnist, I climbed almost everything on the Pillars, I broke several times, but they managed to catch me in time. (Laughs.)
– I know that you and the Yarygins have many wonderful family stories. What do you remember most often?
– My wedding. There were a lot of visitors. I remember then someone broke the glass of Ivan’s car, and they even took something from the car. We walked almost all night. Dmitry Georgievich Mindiashvili was my toastmaster. It turned out to be a very interesting and funny wedding. I also remember the evenings we spent with the Yarygins. I came home, Katya was still small, I took her under her arm and walked together with Nina to the Yarygin. I remember that the Yarygins had a stuffed head of an elk in their apartment. My Katya saw, then she did not pronounce the letter “r”, points to this head with her finger and says: “Daddy, look, koova!” Katya meant a cow (laughs). Vanya and Natasha and I often got into the car, drove to Poklonnaya Gora and admired the views that opened from there. And often children sledged along the embankment. Those were good times. I have a lot of photographs, one I especially like, where Ivan and I watch the fights at the World Championships. And very often I look at the photo where Yarygin and Karelin, two such giants are standing.
– Dmitry Georgievich Mindiashvili often notes that Ivan Yarygin has collected all the best qualities. Many people note the breadth of Yarygin’s soul, someone especially appreciated his kindness in him. What quality would you highlight?
– We, Siberians, probably have one good quality – if we think about something, we will definitely achieve it. I will highlight this determination of Ivan. He said: I’ll go to Moscow – I went. He became a senior coach, then he headed the Russian Wrestling Federation, it was just then just being created. This achievement of the goal is the most important thing that I value in Ivan.