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Two-time Olympic champ Soslan Andiyev dead at 66

Soslan Andiyev, two-time Olympic gold medalist in freestyle in 1976 and 1980 who later served as an official of the Russian Olympic Committee, died Thursday, Nov. 22 in a hospital in Moscow. He was 66.

Soslan Petrovich Andiyev was born on April 21, 1952 in Vladikavkaz, Respublika Severnaya Osetiya-Alaniya, Russia. The website Sports-Reference.com describes him as "the dominant super-heavyweight freestyle wrestler of the 1970s."

First gaining a spot on the Soviet Union's freestyle wrestling team in 1973, the 6'4", 276-pound Andiyev grabbed the international wrestling world's attention by defeating 6'5", 400+ pound "Gentle Giant" Chris Taylor -- 1972 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time NCAA heavyweight champ for Iowa State in 1972 and 1973 -- at a World Cup event.

Soslan Andiyev
Andiyev added to his reputation and wrestling resume by claiming seven titles at the Soviet Championships (1973-78, 1980), four World Championships (1973, 1975, 1977-78) along with a silver at the 1974 Worlds, and three European Championships (1974-75, 1982).

Andiyev won Olympic gold medals as a superheavyweight in men's freestyle competition at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and was expected to claim a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in 1984 until the Soviets chose to boycott the Los Angeles Games. He retired from wrestling that year, becoming a coach.

Andiyev later became a Minister of Sports of North Ossetia, then served as Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), and a member of the Executive Committee of the ROC.

In 2006, Andiyev was welcomed into what is now the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame.

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