February 3rd, 2017

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Isaac Berger

Berger


Isaac Berger (b. 1936) was one of the strongest featherweight lifters in the 1950’s and 1960’s. His accomplishments exceed those of any other past or present. During the late 1950’s, no lifter in this country or the world, for that matter, could beat him. He could squat 227.5 kg and front squat 185 kg while his own body weight never exceeded 60 kg. Not only were his results impressive, Berger was well known for his superb technique and his form in all three lifts was widely regarded as flawless. He also set many world records, among them one in the clean-and-jerk which lasted for more than 5 years (quite long for a world record).


Berger was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and emigrated to the United States while he was still rather young. His lifting career took off in the early 1950’s when legendary Bob Hoffman, the “father of American weightlifting” discovered him. By that point, he could already clean 60 kg. Later, at the 1964 Olympics, he set a most impressive world record of 152.5 kg. in the clean-and-jerk. That record remained even into the 70’s.


Although he was proficient in the press, Berger would have been glad to see it dropped even earlier than 1972. He felt that the press held him back; if the IWF had dropped it even as late as 1968, Berger would have come out of retirement to stage a comeback.


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Medvedev

Medvedev


As an athlete, Medvedev was a member of the national Soviet team for 16 years. Medvedev didn’t have impressive promising talent for the weightlifting. It was his work ethics and ability to focus on achieving the goals that allowed Medvedev with his a rather mediocre potential first to be selected for the national Soviet team and then to win two consecutive world titles in the super heavy weight class in 1957 and 1958. Medvedev was the first Soviet super heavyweight to win the world championship and the first in Europe to achieve the 500 KG total (press, snatch and clean-and-jerk).


After his retirement from lifting, Medvedev became the first Soviet Ph.D. specializing in Olympic weightlifting. His productivity in scientific research on weightlifting was unmatched. As a dean of Olympic weightlifting department of the Russian Academy of Physical Education in Moscow, he published nearly 400 books and manuscripts and prepared over 15 Ph.D. graduates. Medvedev was one of the major contributors for the development of the scientific background of the world famous Soviet training methodology in Olympic weightlifting.


As a coach, Medvedev trained elite athletes in Moscow and, on numerous occasions, was a head coach of the Soviet national team. He was the first weightlifting Team USSR head coach not to be appointed to the position but to be elected by the weightlifting community.


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