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Training in Stockholm


Weightlifting History in Color:

Team USSR Weightlifting is training during the 1963 World Champuonship in Stockholm, Sweden.

Team CCCP 1963

Team CCCP in 1963

In the back (left to right), Vladimir Kaplunov (67.5kg, Khabarovsk, Russia), Eduard Brovko (90kg, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Alexey Vakhonin (56kg, Shakhty, Russia), Arkady Vorobyev (head coach, Moscow, Russia), Yevgeny Minaev (60kg, Moscow, Russia), Leonid Zhabotinsky (90+kg, Zaporozhye, Ukraine) and Yakov Kutsenko (Soviet federation of Olympic weightlifting, Kiev, Ukraine).

On the front platform, Alexander Kyrynov (75kg, Kazan, Russia) is cleaning a training weight.

Two members of the team, Yury Vlasov and Rudolph Plyukfelder are not present in the showcased photo.



Ruslan Tarkil


Our History in Color photo series presents Ruslan Tarkil of the Gantiadi club of Sukhumi, Abkhazia performing the snatch lift at the Friendship Cup.

Ruslan Tarkil is definitely an “unsung hero” of Olympic weightlifting for many international Iron Game fans.

He was born in 1952 and competed on the national level in the 90kg and 100kg weightclasses for the Gantiadi club of his home town Sukhumi, Abkhazia located on the Black Sea coast.

He is a member of the Club 500 that includes Olympic lifters who were able to reach 500kg in total (press+snatch+jerk). Ruslan was able to join the list as a middle heavyweight back in 1971 with the poundage of 165kg (press) + 150kg (snatch) + 185kg (cj).

In 1975, Tarkil won a silver medal in the 100kg weight class, one of the most competitive among Soviet athletes of the 1970s, at the USSR Championship in Vinlius, Lithuania.

The original black-and-white photo was donated to the History in Color @Lift Up by its author, Gogi Gurgenyan who was born and grew up in Sukhumi, Tarkil’s hometown. Both Gogi and Ruslan are lifelong friends.

Super Mario In LA


History in Color:

August 8, 1984, Los Angeles, California – Mario Martinez, 27-year old super heavyweight of Team USA, wins a silver medal in the 110+kg class at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

With lead East European athletes out of the competition due to the boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics, there were many openings at the medal stands for other athletes in the world.

Mario Martinez of Team USA had a terrific night in the super heavyweight.

He did 6 in 6 with a 185kg final snatch and 225kg final jerk. That gave him a lead with a 410kg total.

But one athlete hadn’t even started his clean-in-jerk program. It was Dean Lukin of Australia.

He was 3rd in the snatch with 172.5kg. Lukin started his clean-and-jerk with 227.5kg and reached 400kg in total.

That placed him second after Martinez in the tournament. 10kg less than Mario.

And then… Lukin added 12.5kg for his second attempt and jerked 240kg overhead!

Australian Dean Lukin totaled 412.5kg and became a 1984 Olympic champion in the super heavyweight.

Fred Lowe (USA)

The Weightlifting History in Color cover photo features the clean-and-jerk lift by Fred Lowe, one of the most impressive U.S. middleweight.

team-usa-1968Frederick “Fred” Lowe (b. 1947) was a 3-x U.S. Olympian. He competed at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City (1968, 8th),  Munich (1972, 9th) and Montreal (1976, 11th). Lowe was also selected to represent the United States at the World Championships in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1981.

Fred Lowe won gold medals at 8 Senior National Championships (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981) and set numerous national records. During his outstanding career as an athlete, Fred Lowe competed for the Duncan YMCA (Chicago, IL) and York Barbell Club (York, PA) and appeared in 16 U.S. National Championships (1968-1976, 1980-1981, 1997-2000, 2011).

Besides his solid career stats, Fred Lowe was a brilliant weightlifting technician (especially, in the clean-and-jerk program). Those who actually studied the techniques and competed on the Olympic weightlifting platform might really appreciate sharp clean-and-jerk lifting by Fred Lowe. It’s almost a textbook positioning and angles demonstrated on the athlete’s best results. Just beautiful and highly enjoyable!

Weightlifting Exhibitionists


History in Color:

Gorky Park, Moscow, 1936 – Pioneers of Soviet weightlifting perform demo lifts in the famous Moscow entertainment and leisure park.

plakat-sov-ta-bukhOn the right, Alexander Bukharov is commenting the event and spotting the athletes.

Alexander Bukharov (1892-1952)was one of the key figures among pioneers of Olympic weightlifting in the USSR. As an athlete he competed in the featherweight and won 2 Russian and 7 USSR titles in 1916-1926 and set 24 USSR records.

Bukharov was highly respected among weightlifters and officials.

He was known as Uncle Sasha among athletes and earned a reputation of a phenomenal weightlifting manager after he retired from active lifting.


Cuba: Numero Uno


The History in Color series features Cuban lightweight champ Roberto Urrutia training in Cuba.

Roberto “Tony” Urrutia (born in 1957) was the first Cuban weightlifter ever to set a world record (1975) and to win a world title (1977).

On December 25, 1975, 18-year old junior lightweight Roberto Urrutia snatched 138.5kg and set the first world record ever for Cuba. In 1977, he won the World Championship in the 67.5kg class in Stuttgart, Germany. It was the first gold medal won by Cuban athletes at the Worlds.

While competing for Cuba, Roberto won three World championships (1977-1979), two Pan American Games (1975, 1979), took the 4th place at the 1976 Summer Olympics and set 6 world records. He was one of the most prominent athletes in his country and enjoyed privileged life of elite weightlifting celebrity in Havana.

While preparing with Team Cuba for the 1980 Olympic tournament in Mexico, Urrutia escaped from the hotel by climbing out of his hotel window on a bed sheet and asked for political asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

It was a dramatic turn in the life of a 23-year weightlifting champion. He instantly became a not-to-mention-his-name person in Cuba and had no special status of celebrity in his new country.

He didn’t speak English, had no friends and no income and place to live in his new country.  For months, Olympic hopeful had to sleep in the back seat of an abandoned car in Little Havana in Miami.

He had odd jobs from time to time – worked as a bouncer in the disco club and a cashier in a convenience store. On his first night at the store, it was robbed and one of the world strongest weightlifters in the world was almost shot by intruders at the gun point.

Roberto gained weight – from a lightweight athlete he ballooned into almost 210 pounds at 5-foot-6 frame. He wasn’t up for training. Weightlifting is not a commercial sport in America. Not for newcomers and self-starters in the country for sure.

In fact, he couldn’t even compete for Team USA because he didn’t have a U.S. citizenship.

In the late 1986, Roberto Urrutia became a U.S. citizen and decided to make a huge comeback to the sport of Olympic weightlifting.

He was no longer a 23-year old promising superstar. He was 29 now.

He was deliberately forgotten and marked as traitor in the old country. He had no support or special treatment by the weightlifting officiials in his new country.

He was on his own. And he did it.

Roberto Urrutia, now known mostly as Tony Urrutia returned to the world class weightlifting.

He won 5 national titles in the United States (1987–1989, 1991, and 1992), won a bronze medal at the 1987 Pan Am Games and went on to represent the USA at two more Summer Olympics in his life (1988 and 1992).

Tony Urrutia did it again- he earned respect and brought his name back to the list of elite weightlifting contenders.


Second Attempt Of Valery Shary


Weightlifting History in Color:

July 24, 1976, Montreal, Canada – Soviet light heavyweight Valery Shary of Minsk, Belarus, competes in the snatch program of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

After a disaster performance in Munich in 1972, it was the second attempt of Valery Shary to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

He managed to lift 5 out of 6, snatched 162.5kg, jerked 202.5kg and won the Olympic title in the 82.5kg class with the 365kg total.

1976 Summer Olympics
Location: Montreal, CAN
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight  [82.5 kg]</p>

More Info On 1976 Summer Olympics

Rank Athlete Results (kg)
1 Valery SHARY, Soviet Union 162.5OR+ 202.5OR = 365OR
2 Trendafil STOICHEV, Bulgaria 162.5OR+ 197.5 = 360
3 Peter BACZAKO, Hungary 157.5+ 187.5 = 345
4 Nicolaos ILIADIS, Greece 150+ 190 = 340
5 Juhani AVELLAN, Finland 145+ 185 = 330
6 Stefan JACOBSSON, Sweden 147.5+ 170 = 317.5
7 Sueo FUJISHIRO, Japan 140+ 175 = 315
8 Gerd KENNEL, Germany 135+ 177.5 = 312.5
9 Erling JOHANSEN, Denmark 137.5+ 170 = 307.5
10 Samuel Leo BIGLER, United States 130+ 177.5 = 307.5
11 Pablo JUSTINIANI , Panama 130+ 165 = 295
12 Mehmet SUVAR, Turkey 132.5+ 160 = 292.5
13 Rolf MILSER, West Germany 0+ 205 = 0
14 Lee JAMES, Norway 0+ 0 = 0
15 Pierre ST. JEAN, Canada 0+ 0 = 0
16 Ferenc ANTALOVICS, Hungary 155+ 0 = 0
966 Blagoy BLAGOEV, Bulgaria 162.5+ 200 = 362.5

Mario Martinez (1957-2018)


Vice champion of the 1984 Summer Olympics, Mario Martinez of Team USA died on January 14, 1960 at the age of 60.

Mario Martinez was one of the most memorable and inspiring American weightlifters of his generation. He was a 3-time U.S. Olympian representing the nation at the Summer Olympics in 1984, 1988 and 1992. He competed in the super heavyweight and became a silver Olympic medalist in Los Angeles in 1984. He took the 4th place in Seoul (1988) and the 8th place in Barcelona (1992).

Martinez won medals at three Pan American Games – gold (1987), silver (1991) and bronze (1995).

In his 20-plus-year long career as an athlete in the Olympic weightlifting, he won 1o national championships and set numerous U.S. records.

Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of Mario Martinez.

RIP, champion!

First Russian World Champion


History in color:

The cover photo features our portrait of Sergey Eliseev (1876-1937) of Ufa, Russia, one of the first professional strongmen in the world, kettlebell and Olympic weightlifter of the early era in the Iron Game history.

Sergey Eliseev is considered the first Russian weightlifter to win the World championship. It happened in Milan in 1899 when Eliseev jerked 86.8kg (right hand) and 143.3kg (two hands) and pressed 116.7kg. He was the lightest contender of the tournament  with his bodyweight of 92.2kg.

At the 1903 World Championship in Paris, Eliseev won a silver medal.

Besides purely weightlifting, the early Russian strongmen competed in wrestling and in various types of impressive lifts somehow similar to the strongman’s contests today. There were no official Olympic weightlifting federation, no official set of rules and no regular tournaments held between the lifters at the time.

Still, the world kept the names of the first athletes that competed in the early contests. According to various Russian weightlifting researchers, it was Sergey Eliseev that is considered as the first Russian world champion.

Pisarenko (1981)


Weightlifting History in Color:

One of the most memorable super heavyweights in the history of Olympic weightlifting, Anatoly Pisarenko of Kiev, Ukraine wins his first World Championship in Lille, France in 1981. Pisarenko won with 425 (187.5+237.5).

Авторский Блог

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


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