Ilya Mate

Illya Fedorovych Mate (spelled Maté, Russian: Илья Фёдорович Мате, IPA: [ɪˈlʲjæ maˈtɛ], born 6 October 1956) is a retired Soviet Ukrainian freestyle wrestler. He won gold medals at the 1980 Olympics and 1979 and 1982 world championships, finishing third in 1981.[1][2] Mate was reputed for his deceitfully flabby appearance, which misled his opponents into thinking of him as of an "easy prey," as well as for his springy sudden movements and the mat generalship, avoiding flukes, and providing no "chinks in the armor" for his opponents.

Ilya Mate
Ilya Mate 1980.jpg
Mate receiveing an arm massage in-between the periods of his Olympic match, 25 July 1980
Personal information
Born6 October 1956 (1956-10-06) (age 63)
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Starohnativka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR
Alma materMakiivka Civil Engineering Institute
Height187 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight100 kg (220 lb)
SportFreestyle wrestling
ClubKolos Donetsk


Early yearsEdit

Mate was born to a Greek father and Ukrainian mother. He began training in kuresh wrestling while studying in a secondary school.

Prime yearsEdit

Mate (in red) goes for a double leg takedown on Július Strnisko

He took up freestyle wrestling in 1970 and won the Soviet heavyweight title in 1978–80 and 1982.

Retirement and later yearsEdit

After retiring from competitions he worked as a private entrepreneur in Donetsk, and remained involved with the Donetsk Wrestling Federation. Since 2003, an annual junior freestyle wrestling tournament has been held in Donetsk Oblast in his honor.[1]

International competition recordEdit

International competition record (incomplete)[3]
Res. Opponent Score Time Date Event Location
1980 Olympic Gold Medalist at 100kg
Win   Július Strnisko 15–3 1980-07 1980 Summer Olympics   Moscow
Win   Tomasz Busse 9–2 1980-07
Win   Slavcho Chervenkov 6–4 1980-07
Win   Antal Bodó Tech Fall 1:41 1980-07
Win   Bárbaro Morgan Passivity 7:02 1980-07
Win   Santiago Morales Tech Fall 3:42 1980-07


  1. ^ a b "Ilia Mate". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 30 August 2011.
  2. ^ Mate, Ilja (URS).
  3. ^ Details of Ilja Mate profile available at the United World Wrestling Database.