They are words associated with danger. Coked up? We’ll fly you around the world. Falling to pieces? We’ll have that repaired ourselves.
But according to one athlete at the 2012 London Olympics, those words weren’t enough when he tore a ligament in his left ankle. He would have to go home, by plane.
Kyril Grabovski, a Bulgarian wrestler, was injured during a quarterfinal match and took four flights, from London to Bulgaria to Hungary to London to New York to California before getting to his home in Russia, according to the Bulgarian sports newspaper Novinite.
The Serbian wrestling coach at that time, Valery Mazhilinejev, who is now the head coach for the men’s national team, told Novinite: “I offered him several alternatives: he could stay in London to heal and take the prescribed rehabilitation, or he could fly home on a cargo plane. But Kyril insisted that he wanted to leave for home. He refused to stay in London for rehabilitation and to stay with Bulgarian team officials.”
Grabovski eventually injured his ankle again at a tournament in Bulgaria and also returned to England, where he was left on the plane for nearly three weeks. He eventually went on to a successful career, winning two Bulgarian national championships.
Grabovski’s next fight will take place this month in Orlando. He’s coming off a decision loss to former Olympian Travis Browne, who tweeted a photo of himself in the fight with Grabovski and said “@GrabovskiKyril you’re the real black power. You came back from the dead.”
Photo: Andrew Heining, Getty Images