Height a pain for Ukraine's "Gulliver"
Tallest man in the world: Leonid Stadnik is 8 feet 4 inches and still growing
April 19, 2004
Â Â Â PODOLIANTSI, Ukraine - At age 33 Leonid Stadnik wishes he would stop growing.
|Leonid Stadnik, 2.53 meter (8,3 feet) tall, left,
Â Â Â pulls a cart as he approaches his house
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AP photo/ Yefrem Lukatsky
Â Â Â He's already 8 feet, 4 inches. Recent measurements show that Stadnik is already
Â Â Â 7 inches taller than Radhouane Charbib of Tunisia, listed by the Guinness Book of
Â Â Â World Records as the tallest living man.Â He is also gaining on the 8-11 Robert
Â Â Â Wadlow, the tallest man in history. Yet, for Stadnik, the prospect of becoming
Â Â Â a record-holder would be little comfort.Â
Â Â "My two-year-old suit's sleeves and pants are now 30 centimeters (12 inches)
Â Â Â shorter than I need", said Stadnik. "My height id God's punishment.
Â Â Â My life has no sense."
Â Â Â Stadnik's heigh keeps him confined to this tiny village 130 miles west from the capital,
Â Â Â Kyiv.
Â "Taking a public bus for me is the same as gettingÂ into a car's trunk for a normal
Â Â person", he said.
Â Stadnik's unusual growth began after a brain operation at age 14, which is beleived to have stimulated his pituitary gland.
Â Since then, life just keeps getting harder.
Although he once was able to work as a veterinarian at a cattle farm, he had to quit three years ago after his feet were frostbitten because he wasn't able to afford proper shoes for his 17-inch feet. This month, he finally got a good pair, paid by some local businessman.
Their $200 cost was the equivalent of about seven months' worth of the tiny pension
|Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Leonid Stadnik holds a door as his mother
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Halyna, left, looks on
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AP photo/ Yefrem Lukatsky
that Stadnik receives in the economically struggling country.Â Stadnik sleeps onÂ two
beds joined lengthwise and moves in a crouchÂ through the small one-story house that
he shares with his mother Halyna. His weight of about 440 pounds aggravates a recently
broken leg, and he suffers from constant knee pain. Despite his aches, he tries to keep
himself busy with the usual routine of the country life. He works in the garden, tends t
he family cows and pigs, and helps neighbors with their animals. To relax, he cultivates
exotic plants and pampers his tiny, blue and yellow pet parakeet with his huge hands.
Bronyslav, a neighbor who refused to give his last name, described Stadnik as the "most
unselfish, dilligent man of a pure soul".
His friends, in turn, treat him with the same sort of soft good humour. They are trying to
organize a trip for him to the Carpathian Mountains to show him that there isÂ something in
the world taller than you", Bronyslav said.
|Â A woman touches the fist of Leonid Stadnik
Â Â AP/photo Yefrem Lukatsky
|Â Leonid Stadnik tries to dial a cell phone
Â AP/photo Yefrem Lukatsky