close up

Gennady Ivanchenko is 75


July 30, 2021 – One of the most impressive weightlifters of the 1970s, World and European champion, world records holder, Gennady Ivanchenko of Riga, Latvia celebrates his 75th Birthday today.


Ivanchenko’s list of sports achievements and titles is impressive. Graduate of the Dynamo weightlifting club in Riga, Gennady won gold medals at the World Champiomships (1970), European Championships (1970-1971), USSR Championships (1970-1971) and Cup (1975). He authored 8 world records and won 9 national titles of Latvia. He was the first light heavyweight (82.5kg) to reach the 500kg total. After retiring as an athlete, Gennady Ivanchenko worked as a coach in the Riga’s Dynamo team and worked as a strength coach for local sports teams in Riga.


Records and medals aside, Gennady Ivancheno was one of the key athletes that made many feeling nostalgic of the era when Olympic press lift was a part of Olympic weightlifting. His presence on the platform, fascinating physique and absolute mental preparedness for the competitions was inspiring for many back in his era in sports.


Happy 75th Birthday to Gennady Ivanchenko.

close up

Peter George (1929-2021)


Very sad news for the world of Olympic weightlifting…


Legend of this sort, Dr. Peter George passed away yesterday. He was 92.


I don’t think Peter George needs special introduction to anybody who to some extent connected with the weightlifting world.


He was one of the most successful and decorated lifters of the generation of the first post World War II decades. It was the generation of the winners and the era of the so-called American Weightlifting Classics. The U.S. weightlifting team dominated the world and Peter George had written his name on the same page as Tommy Kono, Norbert Schemansky, John Davis, Stanley Stanczyk…  Each name deserves a book within a history book. And Peter George was one of the classiest acts among the legends.


Peter George won the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and received silver medals at the Olympics in London in 1948 and in Melbourne in 1956. He won the World title in in 1947, 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1055. He brought home to the United States the gold medals from the Pan American Games in 1951 and 1955 and set 4 world records through his career in weightlifting.


The career track and results of Peter George are certainly very impressive. It’s only a part of the life story that makes him a true legend of this sport. His presence on the platform, immaculate mental preparedness for any challenge on the weightlifting platform and being a part of the classiest weightlifting team that dominated the world of weightlifting at the time.


And this is only a weightlifting side of his biography. Dr. Peter George had a brilliant career in sports, outstanding career as an orthodontist after retiring from sports and enjoyed success as an educator in medical school and a businessman in his clinic.


There are so many things I want to say and I need to say about Peter “Pete” George. He often asked me to call him Pete in our conversations. I couldn’t do it. And today, on such a sad occasion, when he is no longer with us, I can’t get used to the thought that he is no longer available for a comment, a story or any input about literally everything that took place in weightlifting in this long and remarkable decades with his presence in this sport.


My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


RIP, legendary Dr. Peter George!


 


 

close up

Olympics in Tokyo: Bantamweights Champions In the Spotlight of Time


The “before and after” visual snapshot features two remarkable bantamweight champions of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Alexey Vakhonin of the USSR (left) won the bantamweight class in 1964 and Li Fabin of China did it also at the Tokyo International Forum arena today, July 25, 2021. Both Olympic champions featured an amazing one-leg stand during their performance for the Olympic gold medals.


It’s not a new requirement for artistic component of weightlifting competitions – rather a personal style of showcasing strength on the competition platform.


For more information about Vakhonin’s heroics in Tokyo in 1964, please read our Alexey Vakhonin Wins the Olympics in Tokyo story in the History in Color series. On the photo below, Li Fabin lifts a stylish cj opener on his way to the Olympic title at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.



 

close up

Training Camp in Fergana, Uzbekistan


History in Color:

Team USSR Weightlifting (Head coach Alexander Prilepin, 1983) in the training camp in Fergana, Uzbekistan (left to right):


Front row:

Yurik Sarkisyan (60kg, Echmiadzin, Armenia), Yury Zakharevich (100kg, Dimitrovgrad, Russia);

Middle row:

Alexander Medoev (100kg, Tbilisi, Georgia), Yury Chernyshev (75kg. Ilovaysk, Ukraine), Vladimir Mikhalev (75kg, Minsk, Belarus), A. Lobachev (coach), Sergey Lee (Frunze, Kirgizia), Alexey Kolokoltsev (56kg, Kemerovo, Russia), Vladimir Lee (coach), Oxen Mirzoyan (56kg, Yerevan, Armenia), Bronislav Ryzhik (52kg, Zaporozhye, Ukraine), Amiran Chitatdze (75kg, Tbilisi, Georgia), Valentin Polonsky (52kg, Moscow, Russia), Kazaryan (?), Avset Avsetov (67.5kg, Moscow, Russia), Viktor Naumenkov (coach);

Top row:

Gennady Baldin (Team USSR massage therapist), Viktor Sots (100kg, Donetsk, Ukraine), S. Lelikov (USSR Sports Research Group), Alexander Pervy (82.5kg, Donetsk, Ukraine), Ivan Logvinovich (coach), Alexander Prilepin (Team USSR head coach), Vyacheslav Klokov (110kg, Moscow, Russia), Anatoly Pisarenko (110+kg, Kiev, Ukraine), V. Rudenko (?, coach), Leonid Taranenko (110+kg, Minsk, Belarus), Petr Alaev (coach), Ashot Vilasyan (coach), V. Kravchuk (110kg, Krivoy Rog, Ukraine), x (coach), Alexander Rykov (coach), Yury Nozdrin (Team USSR doctor), Yury Chimrov (110kg, Donetsk, Ukraine), Leonid Kaplun (110+kg, Mogilev, Belarus);


 


 

close up

Lightweight Winners in the 67.5kg Class at the 1958 Prize of Moscow



History in Color:

March 8, 1958, Moscow, Russia, USSR – Medal winners in the lightweight class are being presented with their awards at the 1958 Prize of Moscow International tournament in Moscow (left to right):


Vlktor Bushuev (USSR, 2nd place, 382.5kg), Chan Ju Huan (China, 1st place, 387.5kg), Ivan Abadzhiev (Bulgaria, 3rd place, 365kg)


All three medalists definitely belong to the list of milestone personalities in the history of Olympic weightlifting.


Chan Ju Huan was one of the world class level pioneers of this sport in China. He set several world records in the 1950s that were not listed as official records because China wasn’t a member of the International Weightlifting Federation until 1970s.


Viktor Bushuev was a brilliant lightweight from Gorky, Russia, USSR. He was a 3x World champion (1957-1959) and a 2x European Champion (1958-1959). In 1960, Bushuev won an Olympic gold in Rome with a world record total of 397.5kg.


Finally, the 3rd place was won by Ivan Abadzhiev. A year before the 1958 Prize of Moscow, Ivan Abadzhiev won the first medal ever for Bulgaria at the World Championships. It happened at the 1958 Worlds in Teheran. Later on in his career as a coach, Ivan Abadzhiev became a truly revolutionary figure. He authored a new training methodology and approach that brought outstanding results on the competition platform. During his two decades of work with the national Team Bulgaria and with Team Turkey (in the late 1990s), Ivan Abadzhiev prepared 12 Olympic champions, 13 silver Olympic medalists, 4 bronze Olympic medalists, 57 world champions, 64 European champions.



 







close up

Weightlifting Team in the Olympic Village in Tokyo, Japan


History in Color:


Tokyo, Japan, October 1964, – Team CCCP Weightlifting is being interviewed by famous Soviet media personalities in the 1964 Olympic village in Tokyo.


Front row (left to right):

Vladimir Kaplunov (67.5kg), Leonid Zhabotinsky (90+kg), Dmitry Ivanov (The Soviet Sports Daily, reporter), Rudolf Plyukfelder (82.5кg), Аrkady Vorobyev (head coach), Yury Vlasov (90+кg), Reporter (?), Vladimir Golovanov (90кg);

Back row (left to right):

Massage Therapist (?), Viktor Kurentsov (75кg), Suren Bogdasarov (coach), Nikolay Ozerov (TV broadcaster), Alexey Vakhonin (56kg), Alexey Medvedev (coach)


In a few weeks, four of these athletes will become Olympic champions (see below) But at the moment, it’s not known. No need for a special “Smile!” call. All participants seems to be in a good and happy mood. They are here in Tokyo to compete for Olympic gold!


1964 Summer Olympics
Location: Tokyo, JPN
GOLD MEDALISTS
Weight Class Name Total (kg)
56 Bantamweight Alexey VAKHONIN, Soviet Union 110+105+142.5OR = 357.5WR
60 Featherweight Yoshinobu MIYAKE, Japan 122.5OR+122.5OR+152.5WR = 397.5WR
67.5 Lightweight Waldemar BASZANOWSKI, Poland 132.5+135OR+165OR = 432.5WR
75 Middleweight Hans ZDRAZILA, Czechoslovakia 130+137.5OR+177.5WR = 445.5EWR
82.5 Light Heavyweight Rudolf PLUKFELDER, Soviet Union 150+142.5OR+182.5 = 475OR
90 Middle Heavyweight Vladimir GOLOVANOV, Soviet Union 165OR+142.5EOR+180 = 487.5WR
90+ Super Heavyweight Leonid ZHABOTINSKY, Soviet Union 187.5+167.5OR+217.5WR = 572.5OR


Note: To view a complete list of the winners in the weight classes above,

please follow the link associated with the weight class.

close up

Legendary Jaakko Kailajarvi Celebrates his 80th Birthday


July 1, 2021 – Legend of Finnish and World weightlifting, 4x Olympian Jaakko Kailajarvi of Tampere, Finland turns 80 today!


By all means, distinguished athlete and coach, Jaakko Kailajarvi is one of the key personalities in the history of Olympic weightlifting of Finland. He was one of the first brightest weightlifting stars of Finland in the 1960s and early 1970s and competed competed for his country at four Summer Olympics – in Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976). Most definitely, Jaakko Kailajarvi belonged to the group of athletes that were energizing the crowd with fun and excitement when they were entering the competition platform.


And of course, on July 1, 1962, on the day of his 21st birthday, Jaakko authored the first world record ever set by a weightlifter of Finland. So, besides celebrating the 80th Birthday of Jaakko Kailajarvi, we celebrate the anniversary of the first Finnish World record today! There were 33 more world records set by men’s Team Finland afterwards. There are seven world record holders in the history of men’s Olympic weightlifting in Finland since then – Juhani AVELLAN, Jaakko KAILAJARVI, Kaarlo KANGASNIEMI, Kauko KANGASNIEMI, Kalevi LAHDENRANTA, Mauno LINDROOS, and Juhani MURSU. And the 1st world record was set by Jaakko Kailajarvi exactly 59 years ago – in Erajarvi in 1962.


Jaakko Kailajarvi is 80 today and we wish him a very Happy Birthday! Best wishes and many more celebrations to come.

close up

Olympics in Tokyo: Big in Japan


History in Color:


October 18, 1964, Tokyo, Japan – U.S. heavyweight Norbert Schemansky of Michigan, USA shows that he is ready for his 4th Olympic games at the Olympic village in Tokyo.


Legendary weightlifting champion turned 40 in May 1964 and won a bronze medal in the 90+kg weight class at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.


Got muscles? Norb Schemansky certainly did!

close up

Happy 92nd Birthday to Dr. Peter George!


June 29, 2021 – Olympic champion and a true legend of Olympic weightlifting Dr. Peter George is celebrating his 92nd Birthday today.


Peter George is one of the most successful and decorated lifters of the first post World War II decades. He won the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and received silver medals at the Olympics in London in 1948 and in Melbourne in 1956. He won the World title in in 1947, 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1055. He brought home to the United States the gold medals 0f the Pan American Games in 1951 and 1955 and set 4 world records through his career in weightlifting.


The career track and results of Peter George are certainly very impressive. But it’s only a part of the life story that makes him a true legend of this sport. His presence on the platform, immaculate mental preparedness for any challenge on the weightlifting platform and being a part of the classiest weightlifting team that dominated the world of weightlifting at the time.


Peter George had written his name on the same page as Tommy Kono, Norbert Schemansky, John Davis, Stanley Stanczyk… Each name deserves a book within a history book. And Peter George was one of the classiest acts among the legends.


On June 29, Peter George will be 92. He had a brilliant career in sports, outstanding career as an orthodontist after retiring from sports and now lives in sunny Honolulu in Hawaii.


On behalf of the Lift Up project and weightlifting community from all over the world, Happy Birthday, Dr. Peter George!


I am stepping down from my soap box podium… Please feel free to add comments and birthday wishes and memories in the comments section below.

close up

Frank Rothwell Celebrates His 85th Birthday


June 16, 2021 – Frank Rothwell, Olympian of weightlifting team Ireland in 1972, turned 85 today. Happy Birthday to a great Champion!


Frank Rothwell (born in 1936) is an Olympian who competed for Ireland at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. He represented Ireland at the 1966 World Championship in East Berlin. At the time, he was a weightlifting contender and coach and now remains an active contributor to the Olympic weightlifting history research today.


On behalf of Lift Up project, I’ve contacted Frank and sent him our best Happy 85th Birthday wishes. Frank had a nice day with family and said hello to everybody! He continues to publish fascinating weightlifting videos at his YouTube channel.


Here is an amazing “My Olympic Journey” by Frank Rothwell.