Real Life Superman
Born in the small European nation of Armenia in 1953, Shavarsh Karapetyan quickly became known for his sporting prowess. Despite his career being cut short, Karapetyan still managed to become 11-time World Record holder, 17-time World Champion, 13-time European Champion and 7-time USSR Champion. However, it was under the very circumstances his career was prematurely ended, that he will be fondly remembered, all over the world, for even more than his sporting achievements.
On September 16th 1976, Karapetyan was with his brother, coming to the end of a 12-mile run alongside the Yerevan Lake, when he heard an almighty crash; the sound of an out-of-control electric trolley-bus, falling from the wall of a dam. The bus, filled with passengers, quickly sank over 30ft to the bottom of the reservoir, so Karapetyan, displaying little concern for his own safety, immediately dived in after it. With over 90 passengers aboard a rapidly filling bus, Shavarsh knew he had little time. He smashed in the back window with his legs and began plucking people from their seats, in near-complete darkness, swimming them to shore, one-by-one. Working feverishly until he lost consciousness, Karapetyan managed to save the lives of 20 people.
The freezing water, cuts from the broken glass, and raw sewage in the lake water left him unconscious for 45 days, and lasting lung complications meant that Shavarsh’s illustrious sports career was finished. Shavarsh became a nationwide hero, receiving a medal and high honours for outstanding achievements and becoming the subject of a widespread news article, leading to thousands of letters of thanks.
Oh by the way, As if this wasn’t enough for one man… On February 19th, 1985, Shavarsh just happened to be near a burning building, that had people trapped inside. He rushed in and started pulling people out without a second thought
Now Shavarsh is living a simple life. He owns and operates a shoe shop in Moscow.