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7-Foot Ukrainian Gets $35,000 For Shoes


Igor Vovkovinsky (the tall one in the picture) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (center) at a political rally in Minnesota.

Igor Vovkovinsky (the tall one in the picture) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (center) at a political rally in Minnesota.

The tallest man in America, Igor Vovkovinskiy, has announced on his blog that he has raised more than $35,000 from well-wishers to purchase special shoes.

The sum is more than double what is needed for specialists to make an original shoe design for him.

The Ukrainian native's feet have been deformed due to his weight and height, and he has already undergone 16 podiatric surgeries.

A childhood tumor in his pituitary gland meant that he was already 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall by the time he was 7 years old.

The 24-year-old law student now stands at a height of 2.34 meters (7 feet 8 inches), which the "Guinness Book of Records" says makes him the tallest man in the United States.

WATCH: A news report on Igor Vovkovinskiy's efforts to raise funds for new shoes

In order to make proper shoes for his condition, specialists have to scan Vovkovinskiy's feet.

They estimate that it would cost a total of $16,000 for an original mold, while subsequent pairs should cost $200 each.

Vovkovinskiy is not the only person to suffer health problems due to his abnormal height.

The world's tallest living man, Sultan Kosen from Turkey, has to use crutches to walk because his joints and muscles are too weak to support his huge frame, which rises to a height of 2.51 meters (8 feet, 3 inches).

The world's tallest-ever man was Robert Pershing Wadlow from Illinois. A pituitary gland abnormality meant that he had grown to a height of 2.72 (8 feet 11 inches) by the time of his death in 1940 at just 22 years of age.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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