Gholam Reza Takhti was born in 27 August 1930, in Tehran and raised in poor circumstances. He trained in a makeshift sports hall until he left Tehran to work as an oil worker. After being drafted into the army he was introduced to freestyle wrestling, He won his first Iranian championship in 1950, and became the first Iranian wrestler to win an international medal when he gained a silver medal in the World Championships at Helsinki in 1951., followed by silver at the Helsinki Olympics.
Takhti started as a middleweight wrestler. In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and when he was only 22 years old, he managed to win the silver medal in the 79 kg weight category. 4 years later and in Melbourne, he went one better and along the other great Iranian wrestler, EmamAli Habibi, became the first Olympic gold winner for his country. This was achieved in the 87 kg weight category. He won gold in the 1959 Tehran World championships and later he participated in World Championships of Yokohama (Japan) and Toledo (Ohio, USA) and respectively won gold and silver medals.
As he was getting heavier, he decided to move up to the next weight, 97 kg, for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. But this proved to be one competition too many for the great champion. He competed unsuccessfully at the Tokyo Olympics and 1966 World championships due to his being chosen for adverse political reasons. Although he had retired from competition, the government of the time attempted to discredit him in the eyes of the people with whom he was extremely popular, particularly from an anti-government stance. Though he lost in the last two competitions his popularity was not diminished.
His mysterious death in 07 January 1968 was "officially" listed as suicidal but the popular opinion was one of political assassination by government security service known as "SAVAK".
The late Gholamreza Takhti is the highest ranked Iranian wrestler in history of Iranian wrestling. With one gold (1956 Melbourne) and two silver medals (1952 Helsinki, 1960 Rome) in Olympic games, and two gold (1959 of Tehran, 1961 of Yokohama) and again two silver medals (1951 of Helsinky, 1962 of Toledo) in World Championships, the legendary Takhti is the most celebrated wrestler in Iranian wrestling.
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