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A Few Must Go To Tampa Reasons If You Are...

Just a few snap shots made during a visit to Tampa Bay to see the Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game at the Amalie Arena on March 27, 2024 to go catchy title of “A Few Must Go Tampa Reasons If Are…

– … a hockey fan, love the Game and its rich history

The statue of Phil Esposito, legendary hockey player and personality, in front of the Amalie Arena is beautiful and touching. Tampa Bay is a stand alone page in his biography. Bringing hockey to Florida, creating a successful and appealing NHL team in subtropics is a great story showing a different side of Esposito as a business person and a Visioneer. Anyway, love the statue!

– Besides Phil Esposito greeting audience in front of the Amalie Arena, there was a huge Boston presence at the game.

The number of the Bruins jerseys in the stadium almost matched the Lightning jerseys of the home team. On the below,

Bruins just scored an equalizer goal in the 1st period,

– Lets Go Bruins! Lets Go Lightning!..

Loud and clear.

The Bolts are better. The Bruins are having a break trying to come up with a game change plan.

– if you are hungry for a classy food places, the Columbia restaurant in Ybor City is a world famous place known for its Spanish and Cuban menu.

– night trains on the streets of Tampa bring back sweet memories…

Obviously, there are much more in visiting Tampa than hockey and classy food. The place is vibrant and full of fantastic vibe and energy.

In fact, I would say a day isn’t really enough to grasp the a appeal of the town. Still, bringing hockey to Florida, creating a team of Champions and a big group of followers of Northern game is a Southern area is quiet amazing, isn’t it?

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Joe Dube (USA) Turns 80!

February 15, 2024 – Great Olympic weightlifting champion, Joe Dube (USA) turns 80!!!

Joe Dube is a true legend of American and world weightlifting. Competing for the United States, Joe became a World Champion in Warsaw in 1969, won a bronze Olympic medal in Mexico City in 1968 and a gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games in Canada. He lifted the top total at the 1967 Little Olympics in Mexico and, only by bodyweight, finished second on the medal stand. He held World records and a #6 position in the the Club 500 of the strongest men in the world.

Happy Birthday, Champ!

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Chuck Vinci: Olympic Bantamweight with a Look and Feel

History in Color:

Charles “Chuck” Vinci (1933-2018), of Cleveland, Ohio, USA, was one of the greatest bantamweight athletes in the history of Olympc weightlifting. Vinci was the last U.S. weightlifter who won the Olympic gold in men’s competitions. It took place in September 1960 in Rome. In addition to his impressive medal path in Olympic weightlifting, Vinci was definitely an athlete who cared about the look and feel he had. He actually worked out in his gym in Ohio for decades after retiring from Olympic weightlifting.

On the national US team, Vinci represented the once greatest York Barbell Club founded by legendary Bob Hoffman, “the father of American weightlifting”. In addition to the national titles in 1954-1956 and in 1958-1961, Charles Vinci brought his country two gold Olympic medals in Melbourne, 1956 and Rome, 1960.

The 4-foot 10-inch tall Vinci was famous as a clutch winner of weightlifting battles.

At the 1956 Olympics, he was facing the bantamweight world champion Vladimir Stogov from Russia. Stogov was famous for his phenomenal physical strength and held the world record in total of that time. Both Stogov and Vinci pressed and snatched 105 kg and the winner had to be determined in the last lift, the clean and jerk lift. Vinci managed to lift 132.5 kg and to beat Stogov by 5 kilograms in the “war of muscles and nerves” that night. In 1960, Vinci won the gold medal competing against the rising star of Japanese and world weightlifting, Yoshinobu Miyake.

Like a true legend of sports, Vinci has his name surrounded with stories. One of the most popular one is about his weigh-in for the Olympics in Melbourne. Before the competition, Vinci was 1.5 pound overweight. After and hour of extensive running and sweating, Vinci was still seven ounces over the limit with 15 minutes to go. In the last moment, Vinci decided to go for a severe hair-cut that did the trick and, eventually, let him win his first gold medal at the Olympics.

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Soviet Super Heavyweights, late 1970s: Vasily Alexeev and Aslanbek Yenaldiev

History in Color@LiftUp:

Feodosia, Ukraine, USSR, Summer 1977 – Lead USSR super heavyweights Vasily Alexeev (right) and Aslanbek Yenaldiev are preparing for the 1977 World Championships in Stuttgart.

Vasily Alexeev (1942-2011) remains one of the most successful and colorful Olympic weightlifters of all time even today, 40+ years after his last competition. He was the first lifter to total mythical 600 kg on the three lifts, and 400 kg on the two lifts. His first sporting endeavors were as a successful volleyball player. At the age of 19, he swapped the court for the gym and proceeded collecting national and world titles (22) which, usually, he won with regular ease.

Using his unequalled strength, this colossal Russian lifter (160kg/1.86m) totaled 640 kg on the three lifts during the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. This achievement will never be repeated since the press was discontinued from the Olympic program in 1972. In the 1970’s he remained literally unchallenged. Between 1970 and 1978 Alexeev set 80 world records, a number that is particularly significant when one considers that he allegedly received from the Soviet government a prize of $ 700 to $ 1500 every time he broke a world record. After a serious injury in 1978, Alexeev returned to the Olympics in Moscow (1980). However, past his best, he was unable to even lift the bar higher than his knees.

According to various resources, when he wasn’t training, Alexeev was collecting crystal goblets and Armenian cognac, reading Lenin and the translated works of Jack London, and listening to the recordings of Tom Jones. His supreme confidence touched every part of his life. Not only was Alexeev the world’s greatest super heavyweight, he also considered himself the finest gardener, cook, carpenter, singer and billiards player in perhaps the entire U.S.S.R. Although, I am not sure that most of these were not just his own advertising tricks.

Aslanbek Yenaldiev (1948-2015) was one of the strongest Soviet super heavyweights of the 1970s.

Aslanbek Yenaldiev competed in the 110kg+ class for the Spartak Club of Ordzhanikidze. On the national level, he won the USSR Championships in 1977, the USSR Cup in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 1980, won gold medals in the USSR Championships in snatch (1975, 1979) and clean-and-jerk (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980).

On the international arena, Aslanbek was mostly remembered as a back-up of legendary Vasily Alexeev in the super heavyweight class. For the majority of fans, he looked almost like “mini me” of Alexeev and the common opinion was that he wasn’t ambitious enough to challenge the Legend and that, in a way, suited both athletes. Needless to say, that view was not fair to Aslanbek.

In the last few years I managed to speak to many members of Team USSR Weightlifting of the 1970s and ALL of them had a very high opinion of Aslanbek Yenaldiev and named him as a true gentleman and one of the best best teammate they ever had.

With Team CCCP Weightlifting, Yenaldiev became a vice champion of the World and Europe in 1977 and won several Friendship Cups (1977, 1978)

Aslanbek Yenaldiev was a member of Club 500 with a best 525kg total of 3 lifts (180+145+200). His bodyweight at the time was… 119.7kg.

In a 2-lift era, Aslanbek Yenaldiev personal best was 435kg total (187.5+247.5) on December 18, 1976 in Sverdlovsk, Russia. His bodyweight was 151.7kg.

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Alexander Kolodlov: Unsung Hero of Weightlifing from Kazakhstan

Alexander Kolodkov is definitely an unsung hero of Olympic weightlifting.

When the international federation scheduled a sunset of an Olympic press lift after the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, there were number of outstanding athletes who managed to set eternal world records to stay forever and never to be broken.

Of all the authors of eternal records in 1972, Alexander Kolodkov was probably a least known person that happened to be among these athletes. On March 19, 1972, 25-year old Kolodkov pressed 166.5kg in the 75kg and set an “eternal” world record in the middleweight class.

Holder of several World records, vice champion of the USSR, Alexander Kolodkov (1947-2014) of Alma Ata, Kazakhstan was a superb presser of his time.

Alexander was born in Kyzyl Orda, Kazakhstan. Kolodkov competed for the Spartak club in Alma Ata under the guidance of his coach Salyam Auzhanov. Later on, both went on to the Dynamo club.

Weightlifting experts saw a great potential in Kolodkov and some even foresaw him as the “upcoming new Kurentsov” of Soviet Olympic weightlifting. Needless to say, his strongest lift was press and his press specialization in training created some techniques problems in the dynamic lifts. Kolodkov had a rather limited exposure to the international tournaments with Team USSR. On the national level, Kolodkov reached a top 5 level on a few occasions and won a silver medal at the 1972 USSR Championships in Tallinn, Estonia with a total of 477.5kg (165+132.5+180). Viktor Kurentsov also finished with a 477.5kg total and won a gold medal because of a lighter bodyweight.

His younger brother, Vasily Mazheykov (1948-2020) competed in the 110kg and won a silver medal at the 1975 World Championships.



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Joe Di Pietro: Exhibition Lifting in France (1949)

History in Color:

September 13, 1949, Paris, France– Olympic champion, bantamweight Joe Di Pietro of the Bates Barbell Club, New Jersey performs a cj lift during an exhibition meet of the U.S. weightlifting team at the Elysee Montmartre in Paris.

After the end of the 1949 World Championships in Scheveningen, Netherlands, American athletes were invited for an exhibition lifting at the Elysee Montmartre in Paris. It was the time legendary John Davis lifted the Apollon Wheels and became the 3rd man in the history who succeeded in this. Only two men in the history were able to conquer the Apollon Axle before – legendary Charles Rigoulot of France and Apollon (Louis Uni) himself.

In Paris, Joe Di Pietro amazed the audience with both his size and strength. At the height of 4’7” with a body weight of 120-pound, his arms were too short and the bar was barely clearing his head when they were extended. That didn’t allow him to fully succeed in all lifts.

With all these said, Joe Di Pietro (1914-1999) had a fascinating career in this sport and managed to win gold medals at the Summer Olympics (1948), Pan American Games (1951) and World Championships (1947). He won 9 national titles and set 5 world records.

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Anatoly Pisarenko Wins His 1st National Title and Sets 3 WRs (1982)

History in Color:

May 23, 1982, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, USSR – 24-year old super heavyweight Anatoly Pisarenko of the Dynamo Club, Kiev is on his way to a new world record (258.5kg) while competing in the 110+kg weight class at the 1982 USSR Championships held at the Old Circus Arena in Dnepropetrovsk.

At the 1982 USSR Championships, Pisarenko won his first national title with a world record 457.5kg (202.5+255) in total. Overall, he set 3 new world records that night in Dnepropetrovsk – 202.5kg in snatch, 258.5kg in cj and 457.5kg in total.


On January 10, 2024, Pisarenko celebrated his 66th Birthday and we at LiftUp send him Happy Birthday and best wishes!

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Vlasov Sets His First World Records (1959)

History in Color:

April 22, 1959, Leningrad, Russia, USSR – 23-year old heavyweight Yury Vlasov sets his first career set of World records competing in the 90+kg weight class Soviet Army Championships held in Leningrad.

Vlasov broke his first world record when he snatched 151.5kg and then cj’d 197.5kg and broke the world record by legendary Paul Anderson (USA) that stayed active for 4 years in the records book.

“I was ready for this world record in snatch for quiet a while,” wrote Yury Vlasov later. “As for outstanding record by Anderson, I got it mainly because I got too excited.”