Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 28, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
14 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, November 18, 1972- George Gordienko A pro from the world of wrestling and art By GARRY ALUSOM Herald Staff Writer The wrestling rings of Alberta and the art galleries of Rome arc worlds apart. More than miles separate these forms of entertainment, for profession- al wrestling and fine art are cm opposite ends of the social ladder. But George Gordienko, a pro- fessional wrestler lor more than 25 years, is at home on this social ladder as he climbs be- tween his two professions art and wrestling. With his art studios and cur- rent residence in Rome, George now finds himself a visitor on the prairies he once called home. Born in Winnipeg, this soft spoken, articulate athlete now finds his first interest changing to art rather than pro wrest- ling He studied lithography in Europe and has found a market for his work, which he classes as figurative. "It's not abstract and yet my paintings are not of the classic nature either. My art has reached the stage where any doubts or insecurities I had are behind me I know what my clientele wants and that's what I paint." He has had several exhibi- tions in Europe and his works are selling well. "I will provide myself with a nice Income when I grow too old to wrestle." George left wrestling to de- vote full time to his painting a white back but found himself yearning for the physical exer- aon of the sport after about a year. "I disliked the lack of action and missed the fitness I derived from wrestling." Extremely jealous of his sport, and' of his own image, George emphasizes the physical conditioning one must maintain to stay active in pro wrestling. "Pro wrestlers are the toughest athletes in any sport. You have to consider they travel exten- sively, eat what is often sub- standard food, miss a lot of sleep and put on a good performance whenever they fight. The only way you can do this is to be flt. I'm in con- dition 365 days a year, not just through the football or hockey season. Wrestling Is my occu- pation my job I can't af- ford not to be physically ready." HIGH INJURY RATE The injury rate in wrestling fa high. George has had broken ribs on several occasions, spent months in the hospital with knee trouble and operations, had back injuries, pulls, strains and countless bruises and, of course, he sports the trademark of his trade califlower ears. "When I was retired I couldn't get used to the fact that I had no bruises and didn't hurt George laughted. "The style of wrestling today Is faster. It's like life is gen- eral, moving at a hectic pace. It's like the movies and TV, violent; geared for the times we live George slated. "As a result the boys got hurt a lot easier. In the old style the pace was a lot slower and a guy could last a lot longer. The boys today won't be around as long as I have." Developing proper techniques In falling and avoiding injuries develop as part of your re- flexes according to George. "As your ability progresses you de- velop After a while 11 becomes witomnlic." When a wrestler Is Injured he (iocsn'l work, and when he doesn't work ho doesn't cam any money. "I remember when I wrrstlcd in Bombay and sul- cracked ribs. 1 liad 3 Allison Pholo GEORGE GORDIENKO match in Calcutta the next night and while on the plane the injury tightened up. It was all I could do to breathe, let atone walk. But I didn't miss my fight. You can't let the pro- moter and the fans down and besides there was money in- volved." A wrestler can be on Ma guard against injuries in the ring, but George remembers one injury he wasn't prepared for. "I sprained my ankle get- ting off a bus and had to lay off, so you never know." Certainly one of the most- travelled wrestlers in the busi- ness, George has fought in al- most any country you can name. "The style and popularity of wrestling varies from country to country. The North Ameri- can style Is the most violent while the European fans arc used to more scientific wrest- ling. In the Middle East wrest- ling Is the number one sport and the fans in India also take the sport very seriously." "I recall a match I had la Baghdad It was held In a soc- cer stadium and the playing field was covered with chairs they had over people attend that card. And the ex- it was indescrib- able. They really have a know- ledge and love for the sport there. "Wrestlers arc held in high esteem in ilio East and crowds of are not rare, and in India is com- mon. After one match in India the son of tlx: primo minister awarded the man 1 fought a new house. It's a real big sport there and they lake, it seriously. The people arc very cxcifable and if Ilioy are displeased, watch out stadiums have lit- erally been destroyed by irato fans." The extensive travelling Is not only liard physically but it also makes his personal life dif- ficult. After many years hi the business ho developed few close friendships and his at- tempts at marriage have ended In divorce. prcfm to live bi Italy and calls it "one of the most cultured areas In the world." He left Italy to return to Can- ada during the early part o( this year. "I decided to tome home just to take another look at Western Canada again." His trip took him from Rome to Japan, to North America, to the West Indies, and back to North America again. "You get used to t' cultural aspects of George said, "and I feel a little lost out here. Let's be honest, west- ern Canada is really a cultural backwash." George turned to pro wrest- ling as a matter of course, after an amateur career. "You work out in the gym with the pros and its just a natural progres- sion to eventually get into the business. I didn't have my sights set on it as a career, though. Knowing what I know, I don't think I'd do it again, but by the same token I don't regret It either. I have enjoyed the travel and the people. It's a hard life, but not all that bad and there are many things I wouldn't have today if it wasn't for wrestling." His parents thought his ca- reer was somewhat less than dignified and would have pre- ferred he had chosen something less vigorous as well. George has been one of the top names in the wrestling busi- ness for 27 years and his peak years were seven to eight years ago. "I'm still a pretty fair wrestler, but as you mature you develop other interests and perhaps you don't work as hard as you used to." He has been In the ring with them all, from Lou Thez to Gene Kiniski and from Riot Call Wright, Gorgeous George and Earl McCready to present world champion Dory Funk Jr. ONE OF BEST "Funk Is cue of the best, as good as George stated. "I had a match with him In Calgary three years ago and I It was one of my better fights, a classic In fact. Unfor- tunately the crowd wasn't the type to appreciate this kind of match. The baste wrestling fan, and I hope I don't offend them by saying this, doesn't really understand the technicalities, of a match like we had. They get carried away with the violence and in the excitement they lose touch of the finer points of the game." One of the best men the busi- ness has ever seen, according to George, was the late Luther Lindsay, the acrobatic little Negro grappler. "Luther had a talent and the moves that most of the fans didn't realize he had. Tire sport suffered a great loss when he died of a heart at- tack in the ring a while back." After fights around the globe, Gordienko assesses the wrestling fan as ''basically an honest, rule abiding person who becomes upset when he sees these rules broken. He is just one of the sporting public." Do they believe wrestling is legitimate? "Of course they do, or they wouldn't be he snapped. "Wrestling Is very much un- derrated as a sport. It's an ideal conditioner and the kids today would be better off in the wrestling rings, becoming physically fit, than they are running around copying each other and using drugs." Obviously irritated when ques- tioned it he considered himself an athlete or a showman, George's sparkling eyes turned cold. "You wouldn't ask a hock- ey player that he snapped. "All professional sports revolve around show- manship or they wouldn't draw the fans. But first and foremost I am an athlete." Suddenly the sparkle was back and he conceded, "I don't try to hid: my personality while in the ring and certainly show- manship enters Into the picture. My beard is there, not be- cause I like it, but because of the effect. But remember I'm an athlete and I can prove it to you if you want." A perennial "Jack Benny George packs his 257 pounds into a five foot 11 inch frame. He currently wrestles two to three times a week and hopes to stay In the game an- other 10 years. His yearly in- come, he says, varies but It has hit the mark. George Gordienko Is a plea- sant, congenial Individual with a twinkle In his eye, leaving one constantly In doubt as to whether he Is being put on or not. When asked to sum up his life, his subtle humor shone through and he replied, "I'm too young to do that I'm not 90 years old." Pro wrestling take it or leave it as you may choose but no matter what your choice you can't help but like one of the sport's finest exponents, George Gordienko. Making daisies' an art So you have a bunch of bad teeth and have decided to get artificial dentures. Unless you get a punch In the chops and your teeth fall out, your best bet is to see your dentist and have them extract- ed. Once your teeth are out you may obtain dentures either through your dentist or from a public denture clinic or labora- tory. What goes into making a set of dentures? Plenty I The manager of a local den- tal laboratory which makes dentures for dentists only, pro- vided the following details on the basic mechanics of fabrica- ting a set of dentures. Once the patient's mouth Is ready for dentures, the dentist lakes an impression of the mouth using a soft compound. The impression is sent to the dental lab where a cast or mould is made of stone or plas- ter. Wax "bite blocks" are then made according to the plaster mould and specific measure- ments ordered by the dentist on a prescription form. The bite Mocki ore returned to the den- tist for further measurements fn the patient's mouth. The dentist selects the color, shape and size of teeth to be used in the dentures according to the patient's age grouping, coloring and former teeth. He then decides on one of many teeth arrangements and returns the bite blocks to the lab. The lab starts to fabricata trial dentures the base of which is made from sheets of pink beeswax. Each of the 28 teeth In a complete set of den- tures is carefully and precisely placed by hand. Tn order to meet require- ments, (he one local lab keeps porcelain teeth on hand, enough to make 500 denture sets. Teeth arc manufactured In the U.S. from silica sand through a secret vacuum-fired process which almost elimin- ates porosity. Teeth arc shaded during the process. When the setups are com- pleted, they arc returned to the dentist for trial fitting and re- checking of measurements. If they arc not satisfactory, they are relumed to the lab for adjustment. When the dentist nnd pallcnt nra satisfied, the setups ;iro returned to Uw let for final processing. The trial dentures are then sealed to the plaster mould of the patient's month and put into a bronze flask. Plaster is pour- ed over the whole works, the flask is sealed end put Into boiling water which softens the wax. The flask is then opened, the wax removed and a separating liquid applied to keep the plas- ter from sticking to the plastic which will be inserted. A powder and liquid are mix- ed to form a doughy plastic which is Inserted in the mould, filling the cavity created after the wax was removed. Pres- sure created when Uie flask is closed assures lhat the plastic fills every little crevice around the teeth. The flask then goes into a thermostatically-controlled hot water curing tank overnight. In the morning the flask Is re- moved, the rough dentures taken out, the dentist's specifi- cation] rcchcckcd by instru- ment and the dentures are ground nnd polished with pumis and water into the final product. The dentures are returned to the dentist nnd tlw patient has a new set of "China choppers."