Iranian wrestling legend’s statue unveiled in the U.S.

October 5, 2017

A bronze sculpture of the late legendary Iranian wrestler and national hero Jahan Pahlavan Takhti was unveiled at the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) in Daphne, Alabama on Wednesday.

The three-foot, 110-pound, created by sculptor Dr. Alireza Khaghani, was presented by the North American Iranian Friendship Society (NAIFS) to the American museum, reported.

The statue depicts the Olympic and World Champion wrestler giving a wave of salutation and celebration.

The wrestler’s given name was Gholamreza Takhti, but he was popularly called “Jahan Pahlavan,” which means “World Champion.” The Iranian people gave him this name for his success in wrestling and his chivalrous behavior and sportsmanship during competition. The Tehran native was known throughout his home country not only for his athletic accomplishments, but for being a hero of common people and for supporting the poor and downtrodden.

Born in 1930, Takhti won his first Iranian championship in 1950, and went on to become the highest ranked wrestler in the history of Iranian wrestling. In the Olympic Games, he won one gold (1956 Melbourne) and two silver medals (1952 Helsinki, 1960 Rome). In World Championships, he won two gold (1959 Tehran, 1961 Yokohama) and two silver medals (1951 Helsinki, 1962 Toledo).

He is in the United World Wrestling (formerly FILA) Hall of Fame. Takhti died in 1968 at the age of 37 but remains one of Iran’s greatest sports legends and a beloved national figure.

“The United States Sports Academy and the American Sport Art Museum & Archives are especially appreciative of the North American Iranian Friendship Society for making this gift to our sport art collection for the permanent enjoyment of our museum visitors,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

“The Academy, a world renowned leader in sport education, hosted a significant cultural exchange with the Iranian Body Building group in 2016, bringing the group to campus for an advanced body building program.  The group was so taken with ASAMA that the leader of the delegation expressed an interest in having Iran represented in ASAMA’s permanent art collection, another example of the indelible connection between sport and art.

“We were pleased that as the students departed, they remembered their promise, which led to the creation of this excellent work of art, which represents a significant cultural exchange between our two countries.

“We welcome and encourage everyone to come out and enjoy this and the many other examples of sport art found throughout the museum,” he added.

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