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Iryna Merleni: Hot Ukrainian Wrestler Returns to Olympics

13. July 2012 by Masha 0 Comments

30-year-old Iryna Merleni is a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist in women's wrestling. Born in Kamianets-Podilskyi, this beautiful Ukrainian woman was raised around the love of sports.


At age five she began gymnastics and watched her first Olympic Games on television when she was 14. Shortly after she took up freestyle wrestling and knew she had to become an Olympic champion.


However, she did face some opposition, especially from her father who felt that wrestling was not a proper sport for women. In fact, it wasn't even popular at all in Ukraine but Iryna was passionate. She trained hard and became the first female freestyle wrestling Olympic champion in history.


"I remember, when I was 17 years old, I went with my coach Mykola Tarada to the world championship in Bucharest. I said to him, 'If you only knew how much I want to win.' He said, 'Iryna, everybody does.' 'Nobody wants as it much as I do,' I replied. It was very hard, and I could not raise my hands because of exhaustion. But I set an imperative for myself – to win or die. Then I became the world’s champion," she explained.


Iryna also competed in the televised dancing show called I Dance For You.


"It is very pleasant that even friends and relatives saw me as an attractive woman, not merely a sportswoman. They were impressed," she said. "Moreover, I realized my old childhood dream by dancing – to be an artist. It was really hard to change a sports hall for a beautiful hairdo, high heels, expensive costumes, but it was immensely pleasant, too."


Look for Iryna Merleni competing in The XXX Summer Olympic Games in London which begin July 27th. For now, look at these pics!



Source: Wrestling Girl