Mark Slavin was born January 31, 1954 in Minsk, USSR, now Belarus. In Minsk, Mark began training in the sport of Greco-Roman Wrestling. In 1971, Mark won the USSR Middleweight Junior Division. Mark's dream was to live in Israel and represent the Jewish people in the Olympics. In May 1972, Mark made aliyah to Israel, and joined the Wingate Sports Institute, Israel's National Center for Physical Education and Sport. There, wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg prepared Mark for the Munich Olympic Games. Mark was favored to medal or win the gold medal in his division. He was scheduled to compete in his first Olympics on September 5, 1972.