Ivan Ivanov was born in the city of Kazanluk, Bulgaria and grew up in a town called Gurkovo, Bulgaria. In 1981 he joined the Greco Roman wrestling program at the Sports School & Technical College in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He graduated in 1987. Some of Ivan’s best results during his high school wrestling career were:
- 1993 Cadet Bulkan Champion in Bucharest, Romania
- 1986 Junior Bulgarian National Champion
- 1986 Champion of the International Junior tournament "Drujba" in Ulianovsk, Russia and awarded “Outstanding Wrestler”
- 1995 Petrov Gold Belt winner
- 1987 Bulgarian Nationonal Champion for Espoir and awarded “Outstanding Wrestler”
- Ivan joined the Bulgarian Elite Army sports program in 1987 and from 1988 to 1992 wrestled for the Central Army Sport's Club in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- In 1991 Ivan finished 6th at the Greco Roman World Championship in Varna, Bulgaria.
- From 1993 to 1997 Ivan Ivanov competed for the Wrestling Club Slavia Litex in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- 1994 World Silver Medalist in Greco Roman Wrestling in Tampere, Finland
- 1996 5th place, Greco Roman Wrestling at the Atlanta Olympics
- Ivan is a 3 X Gold Medalist of the International Grand Pre- Greco Roman International Tournament "Nikola Petrov"
- In 1995 he was nominated by the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation as a “Nikola Petrov Gold Belt Winner”
Ivan Ivanov ended his wrestling career as a competitor during 1997. He was then brought by the USA Wrestling Federation to join the National Coaching staff at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO and to assist as the Coach Technician and a training partner for the Greco Roman Wrestling Team.
Coach Ivanov set a primary goal when he took over the U.S. Olympic Education Center program in Greco-Roman wrestling five years ago. Ivan wanted to build a program to the point where he could sell it based on the results.
During 1999 Ivan Ivanov completed the USA Wrestling National Coaches Education Program and was awarded as a "USA Wrestling Gold Level Coach."
From 1999 Ivan Ivanov was nominated as a director and Head Wrestling Coach for the Wrestling Program at the "Treehouse Athletic Club" or (TAC) in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the most prestigious health fitness clubs in the area of Salt Lake City. At TAC, Ivan was involved mostly with youth wrestling up to Junior age. For a period of 3 years at TAC Ivan was able to prepare the young wrestlers from TAC to win gold medals in the following age groups: Midgets, Naves, School Boys, Cadet and Junior. Some of the Cadets and Juniors coached by Ivan Ivanov were able to make the USA Cadet and Junior World Teams. USA Wrestling selected Ivan Ivanov as the "Western Regional Developmental Coach of the Year" in 2000. Ivan led the Greco Roman wrestling team from Utah to win 2nd place at the 2001 National Team Duals in Oklahoma.
Then a new coaching position opened up for the young Coach Ivan Ivanov. In February of 2002 USA Wrestling along with the USA Olympic Committee and Northern Michigan University created a full time Greco Roman Wrestling Coach position at the Olympic Training Center in Marquette, Michigan. The program was designed for young athletes coming right out of high school to dedicate their wrestling career solely to Greco Roman Wrestling during their education at Northern Michigan University. Ivan Ivanov was nominated as the new Head Coach for the Greco Roman Wrestling Team at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC). With a lot of hard work and dedication Ivan Ivanov was able to recruit some of the best young wrestlers in the nation and prepare them to win medals at the world championships and Olympic Games. Some of the best wrestlers recruited and coached by Ivan Ivanov at the Olympic Training Center in Marquette were:
- Justin Lester:
- 2006, World Bronze Medalist, Guangjou, China
- 2007, World Bronze Medalist, Baku, Azerbaijan.
- 2005, University World Bronze Medalist, Izmir,Turkey.
Justin Lester is a multiple-time USA National Greco Roman Champion and currently ranked # 1 in his weight class of 66kg. He qualified his weight class for the upcoming Olympic Games in 2012 in London.
- Adam Wheeler:
- 2008, Olympic Bronze Medalist, Beijing, China
- Spencer Mango:
- 2006, University World Champion
- 2006, Junior World Bronze Medalist
- 2008, Olympian, Beijing, China
- Chas Betts:
- 2006, University World Silver Medalist
- 2007, World Team Member.
- Peter Kovachuchek:
- 2008 University World Bronze Medalist.
During 2011 the following five athlete wrestlers coming from the Training Center in Marquette, Michigan were able to win their spots on the 2011 USA World Team in Istanbul, Turkey:
- 55kg. Spencer Mango
- 60kg. Joe Betterman
- 66kg. Justin Lester
- 74. Jake Fisher
- 84kg. Cheney Height
One of the most prestigious accomplishments as a Coach for Ivan Ivanov was in 2007 when the USA Greco Roman Wrestling Team won the World Championships for the very first time. Coach Ivan Ivanov contributed to the USA Greco National Team in 2007 with 2 wrestlers from the Northern Michigan program: 60kg. Joe Betterman finished 9th and 66kg. Justin Lester, Bronze Medal.
The 2007 USA Wrestling World Team leader John Bardis awarded the USA Coach Ivan Ivanov with a golden ring/certificate for his dedication and contribution to the USA World Team victory.
2007 WIN Magazine "Impact" award for Ivan's National and World Contributions to our Olympic Movement, USA Wrestling and TEAM USA. Read the article about Ivan Ivanov in W.I.N. Magazine here
During 2009 Ivan Ivanov was nominated the USA Wrestling Greco Roman Coach of the Year.
Ivan's Personal Accomplishments:
Married to his wife Silviya and has three children, Magdalena, Katerina and Ivan. In 2004 Ivan Ivanov was nominated as an "Honored Citizen" of his home town Gurkovo, Bulgaria.
Received U.S.A citizenship in June 2006