POPOV Ivan < Back  
Sport Wrestling - Greco-Roman
CGA Australia   
Gender Men
Born 25 May 1986 in Omsk, URS
Height2.04 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Wife Olga Popova.
Residence Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Occupation Athlete
Languages English, Russian
Sport Specific Information
Why this sport? His father was a professional wrestler and he grew up around the sport. "My dad used to be a world champion and Olympic medallist so I wanted to be like him. That's how I started. Me and my brother wished we had broken [cauliflower] ears like them. For a wrestler, a broken ear is like a passport or business card. That's why we wanted to be like our dad. We tried to break them ourselves - it sounds insane but that's what it is. Maybe at the age of 17 was my first broken ear and I was like, 'Check this out, I'm a pure wrestler now!'"
Club / Team In2Fitness: Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Name of coach Vladimir Popov [father]; RUS
General Interest
Nicknames Big Ivan. (SBS News Facebook page, 18 Apr 2016)
Hobbies Playing video games, surfing. (Facebook profile, 18 Apr 2016; SBS News Facebook page, 18 Apr 2016)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs Before a competition he cuts his hair short. (rio2016.olympics.com.au, 03 Apr 2016)
Famous relatives His father Vladimir represented the Soviet Union in wrestling, winning a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul as well as a gold medal at the 1987 world championships. His younger brother, Vladimir Jr., is also an elite Australian wrestler. (corporate.olympics.com.au, 20 Apr 2015; rio2016.olympics.com.au, 03 Apr 2016)
Ambitions To compete at the Olympic Games. (sbs.com.au, 27 Apr 2016)
Other information BREAK
After missing out on qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he took a break from wrestling and returned to Russia where he got married. After a few years he moved back to Australia and began training again. His first competition back was the 2015 National Championships in Canberra, ACT, Australia, where he won gold. (corporate.olympics.com.au, 20 Apr 2015; WIN News Canberra Facebook page, 22 Apr 2015; Facebook profile, 18 Apr 2016; sbs.com.au, 12 Apr 2016)

With his father being a former world champion and Olympic medallist, he admits that he often feels the pressure of successfully following in his footsteps. "My dad was a great wrestler before, so there is a little pressure on me because he's great. I want to be like him, so I'm trying to do the best all the time so that he will be proud of me." (Facebook profile, 18 Apr 2016)

He moved to Australia from the Russian Federation with his family in 2001, and became an Australian citizen in 2003. (smh.com.au, 12 Apr 2016)