February 18th, 2017

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Sultan Rakmanov (1950-2003) won the Olympics in the super heavyweight competition in 1980 in Moscow when his legendary teammate Vasily Alexeev was eliminated after he failed three times to snatch 180 kg. Rakhmanov made six perfect lifts to score a decisive victory at the Olympics. He also won gold medals at the world championships in the super heavyweight class for the USSR team in 1979 and 1980.

Rakhmanov’s father was Uzbek and his mother was Ukrainian. He was born in Uzbekistan but most of his weightlifting career was associated with Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Rakhmanov was a member of the Soviet national weightlfting team for 9 years. His most memorable victory was, of course, the super heavyweight class gold medat at the 1980 Olympics.

‘For that victory,’ – remembered Rakhmanov, – ‘I was awarded the Medal of Labor Red Banner in Kremlin and special Award in Kiev. As for money, I got 3,655 roubles but they didn’t make it home. We spent all in one of the Moscow restaurants’.

Rakhmanov’s strongest lift type was the snatch. His relatively weak performance in the clean-and-jerk didn’t allow him to dominate the world in the super heavyweight class for a long time. His performance at the Olympics in 1980 was a peak of his career in weightlifting. Overall, Rakhmanov was rather an “interim champion” marking a transition from Alexeev’s era in weightlifting to the upcoming time of world class super heavyweight lifters like Pisarenko, Kurlovich, and Taranenko in the 1980’s.

After his retirement, Rakhmanov was the Chairman of the International Association of Disabled Sports Veterans division in Dnepropetrovsk, honored President of the Aikido Federation of Ukraine. He also was one of the pioneers of organized armwrestling in the Soviet Union.

Sultan Rakhmanov died on May 5, 2003 of a heart attack.

On the cover photo enhanced in color for the Lift Up, Sultan performs the power snatch lift with Olympic champion Valery Shary of Minsk watching the lift in the background.


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On the enhanced in color photo, Arkady Vorobyev is lifting at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.

Legendary Olympic weightlifter, scientist, coach and educator, Arkady Vorobyev (1924-2012) belongs to the generation of the Soviet weightlifters that entered the competition platform when they returned from the battlefields of the World War 2. Decorated war veteran, Vorobyev served as a marine during the war and then as a military diver during a post-war reconstruction of the sea ports in Odessa, Ukraine. Vorobyev’s first weightlifting competitions were Navy championships.

Being a very disciplined and extremely strong physically, Vorobyev soon was selected by the national team coached to represent the Soviet Union on the international arena. His achievements as an elite weightlifter were outstanding – besides numerous world titles and international tournaments, Vorobyev won two gold medals at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1952 Olympic debut in Helsinki. He was a team captain and a true leader of the weightlifting national Team USSR where he enjoyed respect of both the coaches and fellow lifters. Later on, as a head coach of the Team USSR, Vorobyev led the Soviet athletes to two victorious Olympics in 1964 and 1968.

Graduate of a medical school (1957), Vorobyev has a Ph.D. in medical science. He is an author of numerous books, textbooks and research materials dedicated to the Olympic weightlifting. In 1977-1991, he was a President of Moscow Suburban Institute of Physical Education where he prepared over 50 Ph.D. candidates. As a scientist, Vorobyev authored the first computer applications for the weightlifting training process. His scientific studies were instrumental for what essentially became known as the Soviet weightlifting training methodology. The list of his students included elite coaches and lifters in Russia, Bulgaria, Cuba, Hungary and many other countries.