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Georgia was one of 15 Soviet Republics, but gained its independence in 1991. Located between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi.
Within Georgia, there are a number of folk styles of wrestling, including the popular Kakhetian style. Georgia has a history of great international champions. The famous Tbilisi International Tournament is now named for their first world champions. Givi Kartozia was a Greco-Roman world champion in 1953, 1955, and 1958 and Olympic Champion in 1956. Vachtang Balawadze was the first freestyle world champion in 1954, and again in 1957. More recent champions include the great Levan Tediashvili, a freestyle Olympic Champion in 1972 and 1976; David Gobedishvili the heavyweight Olympic champ in 1988; and 2008 Olympic Greco-Roman champ Manuchar Kvirkvelia, who will be wrestling at the Curby Cup.
The Tbilisi Freestyle International began in 1962 and became known as the “Small World Championship.” To many Americans of the 70’s and 80’s, Tbilisi meant TOUGH! It was in this tournament that Dan Gable burst onto the international scene by winning the championship. The Georgian fans held him in very high regard. Another American who was highly respected by the Georgians was the great Dave Schultz.
The Kartozia Greco-Roman Tournament began in 1974. These tournments were reestablished in 2005. Jake Curby was the first American to place in it, winning a bronze in 2009.