Stefan Rolev (1865-1969)

Exclusive presentation of an unknown Macedonian revolutionary and great athlete. Stefan Atanasov Rolev, was born in 1865 in the village Ekshi-Su (Vrbeni) Lerin region, in Aegean Macedonia. He participated in the Ilinden uprising and the struggle for liberation of the Macedonian people in the post-Ilinden period, where he was known as "Warlord Biglenski and Lerinski”. He knew how to prepare the hellish machines and the bombs as well.

Despite his revolutionary works Stefan Rolev had excellent physical predispositions, because of what he was called the "Iron Rolev", he did performances where he broke stone of his chest, then rolled iron and similar. He was engaged in: gymnastics, acrobatics, athletics, lifting load, pelivan wrestling, boxing, cycling, motorbikes and mountaineering.

After a period that he traveled through Europe and the U.S.A., he returns home where he found the first gymnast association in Lerin in 1908 “Biglenski hero " and then in Bitola “Pelister hero”.

In 1911 he prepared the assassination of Sultan Reshad V during his visit to Bitola, but his intention was hindered by important people in the Organization who did not want bloodshed of innocent victims in Bitola, as a response by the Turkish forces.

Stephen Rolev spent his aged years in Bitola, where he was favorite of children and youth, known as "Grandpa Role" he often known to talk about experiences of his life.

In a interview is noted his statement:
"I was a terrorist, I carried the bomb in a secret passageway to the Ottoman Bank, Komita, Warlord, and a peace judge of our population. I liquidate Ali the Cherkez called 'tyrant of Lerin’, and the illfamed Ibrahim called `krvolak ' - a bloodthirsty person. Turks call me "man - beast." Because I was very strong, a true gladiator, fearless and a risk type, prone to adventures. For Macedonia I would get alive in a fire, if my Organization ordered. But simultaneously I studied the sports systems of England, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Czechoslovakia. I gave public-athletic events with students for the citizens of Bitola... I think that I lived my life usefully, putting it on the altar of Macedonia."

He died in Bitola on 24 December 1969 when he survived 104 years and 131 days.

May his memory live!

Blagojce Andonov,

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