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Breaking News! Return of the Russian

Alex Federov returns to compete at the IFBB Grand Prix Fitness House Pro Mens Open on November 1st!

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THE MANIA

But fate intervened. In September 2003, while preparing for his pro debut the following month, he was bench-pressing 485 when he tore his right pec in four places. Gallantly, before surgery to repair his chest, he competed in the Russian Grand Prix. We covered that show already. He was third, behind Coleman and Cutler, a placing that qualified him for the next year’s Olympia. And the hype was on. 

Still, he forewent the Olympia and instead challenged Coleman mano a mano in a rematch in the 2004 Russian Grand Prix. The buzz then was that the champ, who had lost a contest just after winning the 2002 Olympia, would be vulnerable in Fedorov’s home country. And, after pec surgery and a year of training in seclusion, no one was sure  how much the young Russian had grown. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. No one could touch Coleman in 2004, when he weighed a shredded 297. And, though Fedorov had grown, his chest hadn’t. 

Fedorov was the mythic figure on whom fans projected their hopes for a close Olympia clash.

In retrospect, Fedorovmania was a product of the times. Coleman won his seventh consecutive Sandow in 2004 and his recordtying eighth the following year. Cutler was consistently second but couldn’t dethrone the champ (until 2006). The bodybuilding world then was looking for someone with the size to challenge King Coleman’s supremacy. Maybe, just maybe, the right mass monster had been found in a St. Petersburg cemetery. Unknown before 2003, non-Englishspeaking, and thousands of miles from the limelight in an era before Facebook and Twitter, Fedorov was the mythic figure on whom fans projected their hopes for a close Olympia clash.

THE PLUNGE

It wasn’t to be. Like a pump-and-dump stock, Fedorovmania plummeted as quickly as it peaked. You couldn’t ignore his chest. Still, evidence of pec tears are not  uncommon on pro stages and not always debilitating. Toney Freeman tore a pec and has subsequently won seven pro titles and finished fifth in a Mr. Olympia. Fedorov’s greater problem in his last four contests was his blubbery conditioning. Showing up smooth, he was humbled with a DNP (did not place) at the 2005 Mr. Olympia, his long-awaited American debut, and a repeat DNP against a weaker lineup at the 2006 New York Pro. Kai Greene also got a DNP at the latter show. But Greene and Fedorov’s fates diverged from there. Greene is now the No. 2 bodybuilder in the world. Fedorov made little impact in two European Grand Prix shows in the autumn of 2006. Then, at 28, he quietly retired, vanishing from the bodybuilding scene that had championed him as a possible Mr. Olympia just two years prior. In the intervening years, photos of him looking fit and smaller-but-not-small occasionally showed up on bodybuilding message boards. They were incomplete answers to the question: Whatever happened to Fedorov?

As always, the mass monster built in a Russian cemetery remains a mystery, as intriguing as he ever was.

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