Russian wrestler Viktor Lebedev withdraws from Olympics
Two-time world champion wrestler Viktor Lebedev of Russia said Tuesday that he will withdraw from competition at the Olympics this summer following a fight during a qualifying tournament, according to the Associated Press.
Lebedev wrestled Ismail Musukayev in a semifinal qualification bout on Friday, during which a scuffle broke out when Musukayev disputed referees’ calls and shoved his opponent in frustration.
Musukayev’s coaches and supporters charged into the ring and riot police were needed to break up the incident. Other wrestlers hailing from Dagestan, Musukayev’s native region, then boycotted the tournament in protest of officiating.
Lebedev told local news Tuesday that he would withdraw as “a matter of honor,” saying he felt he received favorable calls from officials while wrestling in front of a home crowd in Yakutsk, Siberia.
“Let’s say I win Olympic gold. I don’t doubt that I could win it,” he said. “Even if I were to climb onto that podium with the gold, I wouldn’t have those emotions. I wouldn’t be especially happy that my dream had come true.”