Four-time World champ & two-time Olympic medalist Besik Kudukhov of Russia, 27, dies in car crash

Dec. 29, 2013, 1:02 p.m. (ET)
From assorted news sources

Russian freestyle wrestling star Besik Kudukhov, 27, was killed in an automobile accident on Sunday. Kudukhov won four World titles and two Olympic medals for Russia.

The tragedy happened on a federal highway near Armavir, as the wrestler was traveling from Vladikavkaz to Krasnodar, and his car collided with a truck, according to information provided by the Russian wrestling federation.

“I can not believe what happened. I even do not dare to talk about Besik in the past tense. I knew it from the first day on the team. He practically grew up in my arms. We have bright memories of him,” said Russian Wrestling Federation President Mikhail Mamiashvili.

Kudukhov won World titles in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011, starting his career at 55 kg, then jumping to 60 kg in 2009. He was an Olympic bronze medalist at 55 kg in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and an Olympic silver medalist at 60 kg at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Besik Kuduhov was an outstanding athlete, kind, cheerful and energetic young man. It is unbearably painful to talk about him in the past tense. This is a huge loss for Russian sport. On behalf of the Ministry of Sport and personally bring our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the Besik Kudukhov,” said Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

Kudukhov was one of the world’s best wrestlers at a young age, winning a Junior World title in 2005 at 19 years old, then winning a World silver medal on the Senior level at 2006 at the age of 20.

According to Reuters, Kudukhov was scheduled to be a torchbearer for the Sochi Winter Olympics just three days prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

Kudukhov was respected by his fellow wrestlers worldwide, including those from the United States, who shared these tweets this morning

Shawn Bunch‏@BunchTheGreat
He was one of the greatest wrestlers That i ever competed against train with and spend time with he will be missed RIP Besik Kuduhov

Andy Hrovat‏@AndyHrovat1h
I'm sad and shocked this morning. Besik was a great friend, a father, and a legend. He taught me so much while I lived there.

Jake Herbert‏@Jakeherbert84
Kudukhov was a friend of @AndyHrovat took me and @rayjwrestle out for his birthday dinner as one of his own wrestlers/friends. He is missed

Brandon Slay‏@CoachSlay41m
Russia's 4X World champion & Olympic medalist Besik Kudukhov killed in auto accident. we lost a wrestling GREAT!

Raymond Jordan‏@rayjwrestle
he will be missed very much. Great wrestler and an even better person!

Travis Paulson‏@TP2USA2
R.I.P. Bezik Kudukokov one of the best wrestlers I've ever watched compete. Was still in his prime at 27. Sad!

Four-time World champion (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)… 2012 Olympic silver medalist… 2008 Olympic bronze medalist… 2006 World silver medalist… 2005 Junior World champion… 2007 European champion… 2006 and 2010 World Cup champion… 2003 European Junior champion… Born: August 15, 1986… Died December 29, 2013