Former heavyweight champion of the world Vitali Klitschko conceded defeat today in his bid to become mayor of Kiev, Ukraine’s capitol, after early results Monday showed him trailing the front runner by a huge margin.
“I tried to be the leader,” Klitschko said in remarks broadcast on Ukraine's TV5, “that was my aim. But it is important to know how to win and how to lose.”
The 34-year-old Klitschko was making his first ever bid for public office, and as befits a man his size, Vitali was starting big. His dazzling celebrity and dazzling wealth – K was said to cut a “Schwarzenegger-like figure on the campaign trail” – wasn’t what the voters were looking for; they turned on reform to embrace old values.
Early results showed the winner Chernovetskiy winning with more than 30 percent of the vote, ahead of the two-term Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko, an entrenched old school apparatchik, and Klitschko, who both hovered around 22 percent, Ukraine's Interfax news agency reported.
An avid supporter of President Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukraine’s George Washington, the guy who got poisoned by the Kremlin, Klitschko also appeared to have lost a simultaneous bid to enter parliament. Early results suggested his party got less than three percent of the vote.
Klitschko formally retired from boxing in November after a series of injuries during training forced him to pull out of several defenses of his crown. But now, with a successful career in politics looking bleak to nonexistent, maybe the elder Klitschko wants to get back in the fray. He’s still a young man, especially for a heavyweight, and there are tens of millions of dollars just sitting there waiting for the big man to scoop up in his capable hands.
But it will be a lot more work than being mayor of Kiev.