Moscow: Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Alexander Karelin has not died though reports suggested that he had drowned, the head of Russia`s wrestling federation said.
Reports in local media in the southern Astrakhan region of Russia claimed Saturday that Karelin had drowned in a river while fishing but latest reports indicate the deceased is another man with the same name.
Russian Wrestling Federation president Mikhail Mamiashvili, also an Olympic champion, said Karelin was alive and well in his home region of Siberia.
"I`ve been in touch with his friends. They said he is in the Novosibirsk region and hasn`t left its boundaries to go anywhere," Mamiashvili said. Novosibirsk is 1,600 km from Astrakhan.
Karelin won super heavyweight Greco-Roman gold at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics as well as a silver medal in Sydney in 2000. He is known for pioneering the Karelin lift, a spectacular move in which the opponent is dropped from a great height for a maximum score.
Since retiring, Karelin has become a politician and is a member for the ruling United Russia party in the lower house of the Russian parliament.