January 26, 1960 |
Sandrovo, Ruse Municipality, Bulgaria
Valentin Yordanov Dimitrov (Bulgarian: Валентин Йорданов Димитров; born January 26, 1960), also transliterated Jordanov, is a retired Bulgarian freestyle wrestler who competed in the up to 52 kg weight class. He is an Olympic gold medalist, seven-time world champion, seven-time European champion, and the only wrestler to hold 10 medals (seven gold, two silver and one bronze) from world championships.
He was born in the Bulgarian village of Sandrovo in the Ruse Municipality. He began wrestling at the age of 10, and was coached by Georgi Achev from 1970 to 1978. He did his military service at the sports school of the CSKA Sofia sports club from 1978 to 1980, where he worked with Yancho Patrikov. He won his first European championship in 1980 in Bursa, Turkey, and his first world championship in 1983 in Kiev. He continued to work at the CSKA sports club until 1990. He was one of two people to be named the Bulgarian Sportsperson of the Year in 1989.
In 1990, Yordanov emigrated to the United States, training and living at multi-millionaire John Eleuthère du Pont's Foxcatcher Farm in Pennsylvania while continuing to wrestle for Bulgaria. He won a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the Freestyle Flyweight 52 kg event and a gold medal in the same event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
He retired from wrestling after the 1996 Olympics. In 1997 he became a member of the Athletes' Commission of FILA, and has been the President of the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation since 1998. He has been a member of the board of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee since 2000. He is married and has two children.
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