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Featherweight Rafael Chimishkyan and, one of the Team CCCP coaches, Israel Mekhanic are waiting for the shuttle bus in the Olympic village in Helsinki in 1952.

Chimishkyan just won a gold Olympic medal in the 60kg class. It was the first Summer Olympics for the Soviets and Rafael won one of the first medals for the country.

Very seldom happiness and admiration like this can be seen between lifters and coaches nowadays.

The world has changed. Maybe, I am wrong.

It’s a priceless chemistry though captured on the photo.

Theater of One Athlete


David Rigert, legendary Soviet Olympic weightlifter, is getting ready to snatch 167.5kg at the 1975 World Championship in Moscow.

This was a trademark prep pose of Rigert on the platform. In a few seconds, he will approach the bar and begin to pull the weight.

Impressive theatrics of an impressive athlete.

In his recent interviews, Rigert remembered how he loved the theater side of performance at the competitions.

What can I say? We loved it too!


Happy To Have a Pumpkin


Bernie got a pumpkin today.

It’s a big pumpkin.

Bigger than Bernie!

Still, Bernie is happy.

He likes pumpkins!




August 2, 1979, Leningrad, USSR – Member of Team USSR Weightlifting, Pavel Syrchin is getting ready to lift in the 100kg class at the 1979 Spartakiad of the USSR.

Pavel Syrchin (b.1957) was one of the most promising athletes of his generation. He was a graduate of weightlifting schools in Perm, Russia.

At 20, Syrchin became the vice champion of the USSR in Rostov.

He trained with the national team and, on a few occasions, Syrchin was selected as a back-up of legendary David Rigert for the major international tournaments. At the 1979 European Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, Syrchin won the silver with 392.5kg (172.5 + 220) in the 100kg class. The gold went to David Rigert at 402.5kg (180 + 222.5).

A few month later, Pavel Syrchin went solo in the 100kg at the Worlds in Saloniki, Greece and became a 1979 World champion.

At the 1979 USSR Spartakiad (on the photo), Pavel won the gold with 395kg total. He snatched 172.5kg, cj’d 222.5 and became really close to his dream – to compete at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

However, in the very last moment, hours before the competition, the coaches and advisors of Team USSR made changes – David Rigert was penned to lift in the 90kg and Igor Nikitin – in the 100kg class. As for Pavel Syrchin, he was out of the picture that time.

These events had rather a very negative impact on Pavel. He never got back to compete for the national team and memories of the 1980 are still painful for him to go through.


Khasan Yagly-Ogly


The “History in Color” photo features one  of the pioneers of post World War II weightlifting in the USSR, Khasan Yagly-Ogly (1927-1994) performing the jerk lift at the competition in the 1950s.

Khasan Yagly-Ogly was one of the key figures in the development of Olympic weightlifting in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Before World War II, Kharkov brought such distinguished athletes as Valery Pol, Leonid Allex, Augustus Orlean, Arkady Kasperovich and, of course, world records breaking machine George Popov. The post-was generation included such champions as Fedor Osypa, Igor Rybak, Matvey Rudman and brothers Khasan and Mustafa Yagly-Ogly.

Khasan competed for the Lokomotiv club in the 75kg class. He won the 1957 European Championship and won various medals of the USSR Championhip – silver in 1957 and bronze in 1955 and 1956.

Khasan Yagly-Ogly set 9 records of Ukraine and one USSR record.

In 1963, he was one of the first coaches in Ukraine to earn the title of Merited Coach of Ukraine.

Puerto Rico Strongest


October 13, 1968, Mexico City, Mexico – Fernando Baez of Puerto Rico competes in the bantamweight class at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Fernando Baez (born in 1941) competed  in the 56kg class and won a bronze medal at the 1969 World Championship in Warsaw, Poland. He was a 3x medalist at the Pan American Games. In 1967, he won his gold medal in Winnipeg and then brought home medals from both tournaments held afterwards – silver (1971) and  bronze (1975) medals.

Baez had a long and distinguished career on the competition platform. He was a 4-time Olympian. He competed for Puerto Rico in Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964), Mexico-City (1968) and Munich (1972).

At the 1968 Olympics (shown on the History in Color cover photo), Baez was second in the press lift and took the sixth place overall in total with 345kg (120+92.5+132.5).

Fernando’s strongest side was always his outstanding press lift.

In fact, in his career, Fernando Baez set three world records and all three were in the press part of Olympic weightlifting.

Cheers to Fernando Baez, world class Olympic weightlifter, Puerto Rico strongest!



World Record By Bob Bednarski (USA)


September 27, 1969, Warsaw, Poland – 25-year old Bob Bednarski of USA sets a new world record in sntch in the heavyweight class at the 1969 World Championship in Warsaw.

We already featured legendary Bob Bednarski in our History in Color series. This time the original black-and-white photo is one of the classics by George Kirkley.

Robert “Bob”Bednarski (1944-2004) was a true legend of American and world Olympic weightlifting and a true favorite of the fans that nicknamed Bednarski as  “the eights wonder of the world” along with the other seven. So, here it goes – the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria and… the amazing Bob Bednarski of U.S. Weightlifting!


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То, что не скажешь по-русски. Author's daily blog in English - CHIDLOVSKI Blog CHIDLOVSKI.


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