Martin Klein (wrestler)

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Martin Klein
Martin Klein and Alfred Asikainen.jpg
Martin Klein (right) vs. Alfred Asikainen at the 1912 Olympics
Personal information
Born 12 September 1884
Tarvastu, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire
Died 11 February 1947 (aged 63)
Tarvastu, Estonia
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 75–80 kg (165–176 lb)
Sport Greco-Roman wrestling
Club Sanitas, St. Petersburg

Martin Klein (Russian : Мартин Кляйн; 12 September 1884 – 11 February 1947) was an Estonian wrestler who competed for the Russian Empire at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He won the silver medal in the middleweight class, becoming the first Olympic medalist from Estonia. [1] In the semifinal against the reigning world champion Alfred Asikainen, [2] the two grappled for 11 hours and 40 minutes on a sunny day outdoors, until Klein managed to pin Asikainen. Klein was so exhausted from the bout – the longest wrestling match ever recorded – that he was unable to wrestle for the gold the next day, leaving Swedish wrestler Claes Johansson with the gold medal. [3]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Estonia Republic in Northern Europe

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the third most spoken Finno-Ugric language.

Amateur wrestling widespread form of sport wrestling

Amateur wrestling is the most widespread form of sport wrestling. There are two international wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games: freestyle and Greco-Roman. Both styles are under the supervision of United World Wrestling. A similar style, commonly called collegiate, is practiced in colleges and universities, secondary schools, middle schools, and among younger age groups in the United States. Where the style is not specified, this article refers to the international styles of competition on a mat. In February 2013, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to remove the sport from the 2020 Summer Olympics onwards. On 8 September 2013, the IOC announced that wrestling would return to the Summer Olympics in 2020. The rapid rise in the popularity of the combat sport mixed martial arts (MMA) has increased interest in amateur wrestling due to its effectiveness in the sport and it is considered a core discipline.


Klein was born to a farmer and started training in wrestling only in his twenties. He left home aged 17 to work as a sailor, but after two years, together with his brother, signed up to a factory in Saint Petersburg, which was then the capital of the Russian Empire. Seeking additional incomes, he became a night-shift guardian in a wrestling club and in this way was introduced to the sport. [3]

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

In 1910 Klein won his first title, at St. Petersburg Championships in the unlimited class. Besides the 1912 Olympics, he also competed at the 1913 World Championships, but withdrew due to a hand injury. The same year he won the Russian heavyweight title. During World War I he served in the Russian army and later took part in the Estonian War of Independence. In 1919 he became a wrestling coach and prepared Estonian wrestlers for the 1920 Olympics. At those Games he was also offered a place as a competitor, but refused in favor of his younger teammates. Klein continued coaching and competing in wrestling in Estonia until 1937. He died as a consequence of a hernia, which he developed when moving logs and was buried in the Tarvastu cemetery. Since 1962 an international Martin Klein Memorial in Greco-Roman wrestling is held in Viljandi, Estonia. [3]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Estonian War of Independence

The Estonian War of Independence, also known as the Estonian Liberation War, was a defensive campaign of the Estonian Army and its allies, most notably the White Russian Northwestern Army, Latvia, and the United Kingdom, against the Soviet Western Front offensive and the aggression of the Baltische Landeswehr. It was fought in connection with the Russian Civil War during 1918–1920. The campaign was the struggle of Estonia for its sovereignty in the aftermath of World War I. It resulted in a victory for the newly established state and was concluded in the Treaty of Tartu.

Hernia type of digestive system disease

A hernia is the abnormal exit of tissue or an organ, such as the bowel, through the wall of the cavity in which it normally resides. Hernias come in a number of different types. Most commonly they involve the abdomen, specifically the groin. Groin hernias are most common of the inguinal type but may also be femoral. Other hernias include hiatus, incisional, and umbilical hernias. Symptoms are present in about 66% of people with groin hernias. This may include pain or discomfort especially with coughing, exercise, or going to the bathroom. Often it gets worse throughout the day and improves when lying down. A bulging area may occur that becomes larger when bearing down. Groin hernias occur more often on the right than left side. The main concern is strangulation, where the blood supply to part of the bowel is blocked. This usually produces severe pain and tenderness of the area. Hiatus or hiatal hernias often result in heartburn but may also cause chest pain or pain with eating.

Martin Klein's headstone in Tarvastu cemetery. Martin Klein.JPG
Martin Klein's headstone in Tarvastu cemetery.

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  1. "Exhibition "For the First Time in London" introduces London 2012 Games and the Estonian Olympic history". British Embassy, Tallinn. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  2. Asikainen represented Finland, which was then part of the Russian Empire, but was competing as a separate team, under the Russian flag.
  3. 1 2 3 "Martin Klein Olympic Results". Retrieved 2013-05-21.