The sportsman turned trainer, Chechen-Ool Mongush, 40, was apparently murdered by a rural herdsman who choked him to death with the lash of his whip and then buried the body in a forest in Tyva, a largely Buddhist region of southern Siberia.
The president of Tyva's federation of freestyle wrestling Vladimir Tulush confirmed to AFP that the victim was Mongush, who competed in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he placed fourth in the flyweight category, and was Russia's freestyle wrestling champion in 1995.
"He was the first to go to the Olympic Games from Tyva, he worked here and trained a lot of wrestlers," said Tulush. "It's a great loss," he said, adding that Mongush "was very well-known here and a very good person."
The Investigative Committee said it has opened a murder probe into the gruesome crime after the suspect, a 23-year-old herdsman, told the police where he had buried the body. The statement gave no possible motive.