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Voevoda, Prudnik: Soapstar Superstars*? >>>

Voevoda, Prudnik: Soapstar Superstars*? # Armwrestling #

*British talent show where soap opera actors compete with their singing abilities. Today a little less about sports. I’ve recently seen the world top armwrestling competitor, Evgeny Prudnik, sing in the Ukrainian version of Britain’s Got Talent (or whatever it’s called over there). I heard on a grapevine that Evgeny is a theatre and movie actor and has quite a filmography, not only in Kiev’s productions. And on top of that, he sings… well… ()

Well? In my opinion (and I’m a fine art graduate so I know next to nothing about it) it’s not phenomenal. Here’s the link to a video, I can’t share it otherwise. Listen yourselves. Maybe it’s the song that’s not intriguing enough, I’m curious about your judgement.

Anyway – the second I heard Prudnik, I got reminded of another “singing wrestler”, Alexey Voevoda. His victories at the Zloty Tur Professional World Cup in 2003 and 2004. He sings too! Or rather sang, since the recording is from ages ago (2008, to be precise). Give it a listen!

Here’s an interview with Alexey from 2008 as well.

I wanted to compress it a little since it’s so old and a lot has changed but when I read about drinking vodka I had to keep most of the questions and answers. One more thing… I don’t know who asked the questions in the interview – but I think it wasn’t me. I have a hunch but I’m not sure. Still, it was an interview (maybe Leszek Soboń…?).


Though currently at his “armwrestling rest”, the Russian Alexey Voevoda is a key figure of the sport of armwrestling. His career started in 1999 when he won silver at the Russian Championships and qualified to the national team for the European and World Championships in 2000. Ever since then Alexey scored a multitude of sports achievements including multiple national (Russian Champion) and international (European and World Champion, Professional World Cup winner and others) titles. However, one of his biggest merits has to be (besides armwrestling achievements) placing second with a silver medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Turin, 2006, in bobsled (quartets).

Though every armwrestler knows this Russian wrestler at least a little, we will try to get you even more familiar with him.

Name and surname: Alexey Voevoda

Date of birth: May 9, 1980

Place of birth: Ukraine, Czernigovska, Kalinovica.

Hometown: Sochi, Russia

Height: 195 cm

Weight: 116 kg

Bicep: 52 cm

Forearm: 47 cm

Education and occupation: Degree in management, currently studying law

Rodzina: bachelor, sister Oxana (1975)

Sports achievements:

- Multiple Russian Armwrestling Champion

- European Armwrestling Champion 2004

- World Armwrestling Champion 2004

- Armwrestling Professional World Cup champion in 2003 and 2004

- Bobsled World Cup champion in 2005

- Russian Olympic Representative (silver in bobsled / quartets) of the Winter Olympic Games in Turin, 2006


Armpower: What’s the circumference of your bicep?

Alexey Voevoda: It’s 52 cm.


Armpower: Have you ever been this big?

Alexey Voevoda: No, I wasn’t always this big but I was always different from my peers. I was a bit bigger and stronger. That’s how it was even in primary school.


Armpower: How did you develop such impressive muscle mass?

AV: I always trained for isometry. I tried to develop, above anything, my muscle strength, not volume. I believe that ligaments are more important in my body than muscles. And the fact that my weight also followed is a different story.


Armpower: What does your regular day look like?

AV: At approx. 9 AM I have breakfast. Between 10 AM and 1 PM I go to the stadium and jog there. I rest and nap from 2 PM to 4 PM. Between 6 and 9 PM I have my main strength training. And that’s how I train almost everyday. And in the evening – of course, I have some time for myself.


Armpower: How much weight can you lift/press?

AV: It all depends on what I should lift and how. I usually lift about 110-115 kg with my bicep, but about 400 kg while doing a quarter squat. I train my legs with 430-450 kg weights. And the maximum weight I have held with my bicep at 90 degrees was 237 kg.


Armpower: Who’s stronger - Alexey Voevoda or Mariusz Pudzianowski?

AV: Of course, I’m better at armwrestling. I can also bet that I can run faster. But in his specialty I’m definitely much weaker.


Armpower: What’s harder – armwrestling or bobsleding at 100km/h?

AV: Bobsleding, of course. Especially since the speeds start at 120 km/h and higher. The maximum speed I ever sled at was 157 km/h.


Armpower: And which of these is more exciting?

AV: Of course I love armwrestling, it’s very important to me and makes me very emotional, just like bobsled. But when I get to the table the emotions are a few times stronger than when I sit in a bobsleigh. And I want to note that it’s more emotional for me to win with a tough opponent at the table than to get a medal.


Armpower: What are your biggest achievements in armwrestling, and what are they in bobsled (besides the olympic silver, of course)?

AV: In armwrestling: Winner of Professionals World Cup in 2003 and 2004, Amateur World Champion 2000, 2003, 2004. The strongest armwrestler on the planet with the right arm in 2004. In bobsled: victories in 2006 in Quartets World Cup. I’m a gold medalist in the general World Cup 2006 (in total 8 stages).

In doubles I also got a medal – but a silver one.


Armpower: Have you had any serious injuries, accidents? What were they?

AV: I injured my knee. In June 2005 I had a surgery and in July I was already back to practice. I also had a knee ligaments surgery. In armwrestling I’ve never had any serious injuries yet. Only a torn origin in my left arm.


Armpower: Do you sometimes armwrestle with your bobsled teammates?

AV: I’ve never fought with my bobsled friends but in Turin I fought with a Canadian who believed he was a World Champion and had never lost before. He tried his left am, then he tried his right arm and he lost. Then he tried with both of his arms – and he lost again. It ended with a dinner on him at a restaurant.


Armpower: In the world of armwrestling and bobsled you’re a big star. Do regular people recognize you in the streets? Are you a star in Russia?

AV: In Moscow they recognize me in almost every store. Everyone recalls how I received the award from President Putin. I took part in a Russian reality show Fort Boyard. Now I was proposed the role of a TV presenter in RTR Sport. I’m recognized by my surroundings but if I’m a star, I can’t tell – I think others should decide that.


Armpower: How much can you earn on armwrestling?

AV: Currently, the best get $5000 per performance.


Armpower: And on bobsled?

AV: If you consider the whole year, it could be about $100,000. On top of that, I have a life-long pension of 300 dollars.


Armpower: Have you ever used your muscles outside the training room, like at a bar or a disco?

AV: Usually nobody provokes big guys. I think I must be awe-inspiring since nobody bothers me.


Armpower: Do you even enjoy fighting? Does it happen often?

AV: I don’t and it never happens. Sometimes there were some scuffles but it always ended quickly because my size stopped my rivals immediately.


Armpower: You’ve been in Poland a few times. What do you think about Polish people? Are we really as bad as Russian newspapers and government make us to be?

AV: It’s not true that the newspapers say you’re bad. It’s all connected to the politics, it’s not the opinion of regular people. The Russians like Polish people. You’ve Slavs like us. Polish people are hospital, open and drink vodka like nobody else (laughter). While crossing the border, the customs officers were always very nice and wanted to armwrestle with me.


Armpower: Do you like Polish women?

AV: I’ve been to Poland so many times and I’ve never had the chance to meet a Polish girl. I hope that I can meet one when I visit next time. The schedule is always the same: competition – return – tournament – return. No time for private hangouts.


Armpower: Do women pay attention to your muscles?

AV: Every sportsman stands out from the crowd – and I do too. I think that they draw attention. A big guy, apparently, brings up feelings of safety and care.


Armpower: Do you hit on girls or do they hit on you more often?

AV: Okay, I’m big and strong but… I’m also shy and I usually don’t hit on girls on my own. In my life there have been more situations when girls came up to me on their own.


Armpower: While trying to impress a girl, do you show her your muscles or would you rather get a girl through an intelligent conversation while cooking a nice dinner, inviting her to a theatre etc.?

AV: I’ve never used my muscles to impress a girl. I always try to use my head, to surprise her. Now that I’ve become popular it’s also consequently become a lot harder. I’m instantly recognized by my surroundings, a turmoil forms and I start to believe the girl is no longer looking at me objectively. I have to put in much more work now to prove to her that I’m a regular guy and not a shallow, self-centred star.


Armpower: Do you prefer blondes or brunettes?

AV: I like pretty and slim women and their hair color has nothing to do with that.


Armpower: Your favorite soccer club? 

AV: I’m not really into soccer. Not because I don’t play it but because I don’t have time. I only watch the World Cup. And I only cheer for the team that truly gives me a good quality game.


Armpower: You’re Russian. So: Do you drink? (How much?) Do you smoke? (How much?) Do you have any other addictions?

AV: I’m not fully Russian. I’m half-Russian and half-Ukrainian. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke. If I drink, it’s never hard liquors. But I love cakes. I don’t know how one could not love them. It’s my only addiction. The best cake in the world is my mom’s cherry cake!


Armpower: What’s your favorite beer/wine/vodka brand?

AV: I don’t drink beer but I like shery dan – wine. [t.n. I don’t know which brand it refers to in reality; it’s probably a spelling mistake.] I don’t drink vodka either.


Armpower: What’s your record in drinking?

AV: Once in my life when I was still a youngster I downed a bottle of vodka in one go. It was a stupid bet with my friends but I won.


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