My name is Igor Vovkovinskiy. I am a proud Ukrainian, who lives in the US, for medical reasons. I was named the Tallest Living man in 2010 by the Guinness Book of World Records on the Dr. Oz show. And it so happens that after Leonid Stadnyk died in 2014, I became the Tallest Ukrainian. I did an AMA about 2-3 years ago, however, tons of people on Reddit are asking me the same questions, so I would like to do it again.

I know many people don't know how to Google :) so I'll tell you, my height is 7ft 8.33in and you want to know my weight? Well, my friends, it's none of your business! :) Haha


I will be posting some photos during the AMA, when I choose to do so, however, please do not request photos.

Let's do this.

Thank you all for the questions. I must go. If you wish, you can follow me on Twitter, @Igor2tall I am sorry if I didn't answer your question, or didn't answer it the way you wanted it answered. A couple quick facts. I love to watch MMA, huge UFC fan. I love my homeland, Ukraine, Слава Україні! I love fishing and reading. PC Games, I love Fallout 3 & 4, wish I could get Battlefield 1, but it's way too expensive, and I don't have an income, so that's out of the question. Have a great Sunday!


UPDATE 1 - 10/30/2016 - 11:30PM Central Time LADIES & GENTLEMEN!! I am still fairly new to Reddit, so I am not sure how to keep updating you. I think, perhaps, updating the OP is best? Your response has been overwhelming. Thank you soooo much for all the kind words, suggestions, offers of help. I can't keep track of anything. I will try to answer as many questions as I can.

Comments: 3438 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

UkrainianOptimus3641 karma

My puppy dog Tarzan. Unfortunately he left this world in September of 2014. He was the best, a purebred Alaskan Malamute

UkrainianOptimus3124 karma

ATTENTION here are some photos that show my height

Next to a Porsche, in LA.

Next to Dr. Oz in 2010,

loureedfromthegrave2801 karma

You look like the friendliest giant ever

UkrainianOptimus1688 karma


p_hinman3rd553 karma

Why do you have 5 inch soles under your shoes?

UkrainianOptimus1325 karma

not my choice, it's what I had to have at the time to heal my feet

CommandoSolo263 karma

What vehicle do you drive/ride in?

UkrainianOptimus773 karma

a full size van

ckisela2359 karma

Do you want/need a short sidekick? Where shall I send my resumé?

UkrainianOptimus3182 karma

Yes, I need someone to help me fight crime. Send your resume to my twitter @Igor2tall

Rignite587 karma

We can have a battle royale to determine your sidekick.

I'm in.

UkrainianOptimus1046 karma

YES!!!!!!!!!! Can someone make a wrestling ring to fit 1,500 people? You all can battle, it will be the sweetest Battle Royale ever!

aSapra2258 karma

What are the health concerns associated with being so tall? Do doctors estimate that your life expectancy is likely shorter than that of a man of average height?

UkrainianOptimus4307 karma

many health concerns, blood doesn't flow to the outer extremities very well, meaning my legs, so I have excrutiating pain in my legs and feet, as I have had 25+ surgeries on my left foot & leg. Nothing really helps me with my pain. I am on about level 7-8 out of 10 all the time

Poopfartsinapieooyum2701 karma

Jesus, you poor guy. How do you even function with that much pain all the time? It must be so stressful to constantly be in agony. I'm so sorry :(

UkrainianOptimus3125 karma

I don't function, that's the problem. Also, my doctors will not give me enough meds, but I do not want to be on these frikin pills, they kill so many people. But in Minnesota I have no other choices.

cunninglinguist961561 karma

Have you tried medical marijuana?

UkrainianOptimus2738 karma

no sir, it's not exactly easy to obtain legally in MN. I really want to try the CBD capsules, but I can't get anyone to let me try it.


You should try medical marijuana. Obviously not a silver bullet, but harmless enough compared to opiods that it's worth a try, right? Worst case scenario it just doesn't work and you're where you started.

UkrainianOptimus137 karma

I live in MN, it's not as easy as that

SomeDude99922043 karma

Whats the best thing and the worst thing about being that height?

UkrainianOptimus3983 karma

The worst thing is all the medical issues. The best thing? I don't know.... maybe that kids look up to me. I have gone to schools around the area to talk to kids about being tall, being different, about my homeland.

SomeDude9992226 karma

Are the medical issues mostly associated with your joints?

Downvote_This_Puffin1455 karma

How often do you hit your head on chandeliers?

UkrainianOptimus2457 karma

ohhh jeez...when I go to visit someone, pretty much every time I will hit my head on one of the light fixtures

pbr4me1321 karma

Do you ever go to the mall of America?

There is book store there where I think I may come across your path a number of years ago. Short story, as I was looking down thumbing through a book I saw this ginormous foot step next to mine. So I look up to see a mountain of a man. I can only guess this was you, because this gentleman was huge. Pulling books off the the top display shelves with ease, which would have taken anyone else a ladder.

Quite impressive anyway. Have a good weekend.

UkrainianOptimus1515 karma

haha, yeah probably me, I would always go to the Barnes & Noble at the MoA.

SOULMEMORY1258 karma

Hey, there was a documentary shown on tv here a few weeks ago about gigantism which you were featured in. I remember you said in it that you were a bit of a film buff, what's your favourite movie at the moment? what was the documentary process like?

UkrainianOptimus1883 karma

Hello. I like so many movies... it's so hard to pick one, or 10. Okay, these aren't necessarily the newest films, but I like them very much.

Mad Max Fury Road Dredd LoTR Series The Hobbit Series Apocalypto Eagle Eye Star Trek Beyond Captain America movies

UkrainianOptimus1170 karma

I will need to wrap up now. At 1:45 Central time, which is in about 18 minutes, I have to go

EastsideRock1071 karma

Tallest man typical meal and portion?

UkrainianOptimus2023 karma

Well. for breakfast, usually a bowl of cereal or 3 eggo waffles with some jelly, and 2 cups of coffee.

For lunch, a sandwich or two. for example: european or Ukrainian bread, little butter, 2-3 pieces of ham or beef or salami and a piece of cheese (Havarti or Provolone or whatever we have, I'm not picky). Or if I have some Borcht or other soup, I'll eat a bowl of that. Or we'll make some fried potatoes with a pork chop or a steak. For dinner, I may make some rice & chicken in the oven or potatoes & chicken in the oven. I don't have any money to eat fancy. I haven't even ever tried fresh lobster or crab. When my fridge is empty I will eat a couple ramen soups.

TowelsOnMyHead2057 karma

That's a surprisingly small amount of food

Keenbean248897 karma

Technically he didn't specify the serving sizes. So "some" chicken and rice could be like 2 pounds of it.

UkrainianOptimus367 karma

no. I usually eats 2 chicken breasts or 2 thighs or 1 of each.

thenewaddition207 karma

european or Ukrainian bread

What's this?

UkrainianOptimus1083 karma

Uhhhhhh....well if you go to a grocery store bakery, they have bread. And some of it is called European bread. And there are Ukrainian & Eastern European grocery stores in big cities all over the US, they sell hot & freshly baked Ukrainian bread, the kind we ate at home. It's MUCH heavier than the typical American wonderbread type crap, has more substance to it, healthier.

nordasaur8 karma

How much protein do you usually need in a day?

UkrainianOptimus17 karma

I don't know. I don't count. A couple pork chops maybe. Sometimes 2-3 pieces of chicken.

UkrainianOptimus1039 karma

With my certificate from Guinness World Records.

SinisterPaige881 karma

Growing up in Austin, Minnesota I remember seeing TV reports about you. I was happy that you immigrated to this country so you could receive medical treatment.

Since I have to ask a question, what is your favorite NFL team?

UkrainianOptimus1375 karma

Hello!! Well... if I say anything else, my house will be egged, so Minnesota Vikings!! No, but really, I like the Vikes.

Sapnasia810 karma

What does a 7ft 8 inch man do for a career and how has your height helped/hindered your work life?

UkrainianOptimus1268 karma

I haven't been able to have a normal work life, I haven't worked in a traditional setting since 2005, mostly because I had to have so many surgeries, but also because I have excrutiating pain in my legs and feet.

GonadStrife1810 karma

You worked at Sam's Club in Rochester, MN didn't you? I remember meeting you when I was about 11 or 12 years old and shaking your hand!

UkrainianOptimus1760 karma

Yes!! :)

bignickit709 karma

Do you travel on planes and if so, how? I'm 6ft8in and find plane travel uncomfortable. How on earth do you do it?

UkrainianOptimus1156 karma

last time I traveled was about 2013, don't believe I will ever be able to fly again. Way too uncomfortable and expensive.

Jeb2323654 karma

How tall are your parents?

UkrainianOptimus1349 karma

my mother is about 5ft 6in, and my dad is about 6ft

wonderwallpersona632 karma

Can you touch your toes?

UkrainianOptimus872 karma


keeperh2o608 karma

How big is your bed? Also (sorry if your uncomfortable with this) how does the sex work?

UkrainianOptimus2646 karma

my bed is about 9ft by 6ft. Well... I read a book about sex, I can send you an amazon link if you want. :)

Lakeshow1024599 karma

You matter brother. You do know that right? Your an inspiration G. On another note.I beleive medical marijuana would help with pain bro..Take a trip to California for a weekend and try out the strong weed over not trying to be cool either man. It helps alot of people with pain..I'll roll one for us..

UkrainianOptimus580 karma

Thank you Lakeshow. It feels nice to read something nice. I mean it, thank you.

EdibleConifer580 karma

Do you know what caused your great height? Was it a tumour on the pituitary gland, like many other extremely tall individuals?

UkrainianOptimus801 karma

yes, a tumor.

rucknovru2562 karma

Do you get sick of people asking if you play basketball?

UkrainianOptimus1109 karma

yes! The most annoying this is that 99% of people think that they are the first person to think of that question.

Headwallrepeat752 karma

So... do you?

UkrainianOptimus967 karma

I used to, in grade school and middle school.

RemoteViewingTrainee338 karma

and how is the weather up there?

UkrainianOptimus680 karma

Excellent. Sometimes foggy, but great right now.

FresherUnderPressure513 karma

Have you ever been asked by to get an item on the high shelves while in a store?

UkrainianOptimus1294 karma

yes, quite often. Usually by older people. They are always very nice about it. I'm happy to help.

Musichead2468442 karma

Have you ever met the shortest man in America? If so, what was it like?

UkrainianOptimus1336 karma

nope, never met the shortest person, however in college I had a little person in one of my classes, she was about 3ft 8in. It felt strange, but I never dwell on things like that, because I'm sure she is sick of people starring at her, just like I am sick of it.

UkrainianOptimus432 karma

THANK YOU EVERYONE I will try my best to continue to answer questions. But, I'm a slow typer. You guys & gals are the best!!!!

Genghis_Temujin407 karma

Are you subscribed to /r/tall?

UkrainianOptimus545 karma


llamadoomrider388 karma

How tall were you in high school?

UkrainianOptimus713 karma

I was reaching 7ft 2in in 12th grade

llamadoomrider268 karma

Oh my god. How did the 9th graders (or 10th graders some high schools are like that) react when they first saw you?

UkrainianOptimus642 karma my city the papers published about me so many times since I came to the US for treatment, that pretty much everyone knew me, but some kids were real assholes.

Amrikaayi378 karma

If I was your size and someone was an asshole to me, I'd squash them. But you seem like a really nice guy and I respect you for that.

UkrainianOptimus1351 karma

I hit a guy once, after about 3 years of taking shit from him. He folded into a locker. They had to replace the locker door and maybe his liver. HAHA. no, I didn't hit him as hard as I could. But he did fall back into the lockers and bent the door.

Pischola351 karma

What is the one thing you wish you would be able to experience that you can't because of your height? And also as a fellow Ukrainian living in western country does people ever comment when you make бутерброд? If you do so of course :)

UkrainianOptimus834 karma

I want to be able to just get into a car and drive. Right now, I desperately need to replace my vehicle. But Ford will not answer my tweets nor my calls. None of the dealers in MN, WI, or IL have the Ford Transit passenger van in the size I am looking for. I can't fit into any other type of vehicles.

Я себе сделал бутерброд час назад, украинский хлеб и кровянка. Так вкусно! Здесь люди не понимают кровянку.

thecpoepoe289 karma

Do you have a record of your progression of growth? Has it been constant or have there been phases where you shot up a lot?

UkrainianOptimus941 karma

not really. Never kept a written record. But I'll tell you this Thecpoepoe, at 7 years old, I was 6ft tall

sparks1990352 karma

Fucking hell. Were you bullied as a kid? Kids are mean little shits and will poke fun at anything different, and you're sure as shit different. But at the same time I can't imagine anyone, even kids, being dumb enough to make fun of someone so much bigger than them.

UkrainianOptimus816 karma

I hated high school. Never had a single friend. Every football player made sure my life was shit

Masculine_Apricot264 karma

When's the best time to visit Ukraine?

UkrainianOptimus555 karma

Well...I would say summer. Kyiv is best seen on foot. Hundreds of gorgeous churches, old architecture, museums, parks.

davekingofrock263 karma

Have you done or have you ever been asked to do any kind of film or television work? With all the new Star Wars movies coming, I'd bet they'll need a really tall guy to play....something.

UkrainianOptimus734 karma

I had a 8 second part in the movie Hall Pass and here is the trailer, it should start at my part

Venom0923259 karma

How old were you when you actually stopped growing?

UkrainianOptimus370 karma

around 18-19

kitteninabox2171 karma

Are you married? If you are, how tall is your wife? Do you care about the height of the women you date? How tall was the tallest women you've dated and how short was the shortest?

Also, how have you modified your living spaces to be more comfortable? I know my parents have their kitchen counters raised and it's really nice.

UkrainianOptimus385 karma

I am not married. Most women I've dated have been above 6ft, some taller than 6ft 6in.

We built our home with some things modified, our doors are tall, I have a large shower, and our ceilings are tall. I have a specially made bed, about 9ft long and 6ft wide

Fritstopher134 karma

Is your height due to gigantism?

UkrainianOptimus172 karma


zhiked124 karma

do you have a picture of u standing up?

UkrainianOptimus41 karma

Give me a few minutes

BillionBalconies117 karma

I'm intrigued about the bit about you moving to America for medical reasons. That seems odd to me, considering the insane amounts Americans typically get charged for medical treatment, or for medication. Was there something that made you choose American medical services?

UkrainianOptimus290 karma

my mom wrote to all the big hospitals in Europe, they all recommended the Mayo Clinic, so we wrote to them, and they were intrigued. They invited us to come. We had to borrow money to buy tickets, and we ended up being the first people from the USSR to come for treatment at Mayo, who weren't politicians, for example Gorbachev had come previously.

_be_nice107 karma

Do you have to special order shoes in your size?

ex1-775 karma

in what ways does your height effect you, i.e. do you need to eat more?

UkrainianOptimus168 karma

my diet is about 1800-2100 calories per day

KlassikKiller43 karma

This may be a dumb question, but has Ukraine used your likeness in propaganda against Russia? If I saw you on the other end of the Crimea river I know I'd be scared lol

UkrainianOptimus45 karma

No, not to my knowledge. At least nobody has ever mentioned it to me.

samantha22davis41 karma

What's your favorite kind of music?

UkrainianOptimus216 karma

70's 80's 90's Rock. Tom Petty, Clapton, Eagles, John Mellencamp, Doors, Nirvana, stuff like that

etwarog17 karma

What types of medical issues has your height caused? What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

UkrainianOptimus40 karma

for the first question, refer to this one, and my favorite ice cream flavor is...hmmm....I'm not picky, I like Rocky Road & Coffee & Rum Raisin, and cookies & cream.

cats744213 karma

How is the air up there?

UkrainianOptimus85 karma


Tiedle5 karma

Have you ever considered going into bodybuilding? With your height you could achieve some really impressive results.

UkrainianOptimus26 karma

no, never thought about it, can't stand the way bodybuilders pose and look at the mirror 9 hours a day.

pandasbox3 karma

What do you drive?!

UkrainianOptimus5 karma

full size van

Cheesinator30002 karma

How did you get so tall when growing for just as long as the average male?

UkrainianOptimus3 karma

I'm special

TheTrollOfDoom2 karma

How tall are your parents and brothers/sisters?

UkrainianOptimus5 karma

My bro is about 6ft 6in. My dad is about 6ft. Mom is around 5ft 6in.

giantlover771 karma

I can't get answers to anything here? How do I see answers to questions? I'll as again here. Have you named your new MALAMUTE yet? Have you ever met Leonid Stadnyk? Are you aware you likely have the prettiest eyes ever?

UkrainianOptimus3 karma

My Malamute's name is Laika. I met Stadnyk about 7 years ago, he doesn't like to talk to people, he hates attention. So he wasn't very friendly.

giantlover771 karma

Yeah he pretty much hated himself and thought God was punishing him! he was told that and hated himself. Sickens me! So is the dogs name pronounced like this... lay ee ka

UkrainianOptimus1 karma

it's pronounced like this, think of the word "Like-aa" I guess. Hmm

slackdastard1 karma

Do you have a picture of yourself with a banana for scale? I saw the other pics and since I have no idea how big those machines are, you don't look very tall me me.

2ndzero1 karma

Were you ever approached or considered for professional sports? Even if you weren't good at basketball ball, I bet you could just stand next to the net and dunk without even having to jump.

UkrainianOptimus4 karma

hahaha no. My health started going downhill after high school, it never crossed my mind, I had more important shit to deal with.

JamesMan_1 karma

Wait, what does it mean that you're a Ukrainian living in the US for "medical reasons?"

UkrainianOptimus2 karma

It means that I am Ukrainian. And I moved here to live because of medical reasons. I don't know what doesn't make sense? I needed surgeries and many medications.

Notgivingmynametoyou1 karma

Why arent you professionally playing basketball right now?

UkrainianOptimus1 karma

read some of my other answers, my health has been on a downhill slide since high school

Genghis_Temujin1 karma

Do you have back and knee problems?

UkrainianOptimus4 karma

I have debilitating pain in my legs & feet, and eventually it will spread to my knees.