March 4th, 2017

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Rudolf Plyukfelder in the Lift Up: History In Color series.

Plyukfelder (b. 1928) was a milestone figure in the history of the Soviet and international weightlifting. He  proved his legendary status as both active Olympic weightlifter and the coach of world class athletes.

As a world-class athlete, Plukfelder was one of the leaders of the 82.5 KG weight class from the late 1950s to mid 1960s. Despite his success at the international competitions, Plukfelder’s career on the platform wasn’t exactly an easy ride to the gold medals. Coaches of the national team marked Plukfelder as a flaky and unreliable lifter after his failure to lift at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. At the Olympic trials, Plukfelder injured his back and refused to lift during the Olympics. During the following Olympic cycle, Plukfelder won several world titles and at 36 won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

Plukfelder’s coaching career is virtually unmatched in terms of individual preparation of Olympic and world champions. He was a founder of a weightlifting school in a small miner’s town Shakhty in the south of Russia. The list of his graduates includes such elite lifters as Alexey Vakhonin, David Rigert, Nikolay Kolesnikov, Gennady Bessonov, Vasily Alexeev, Gennady Chetin and more. Very much like during his lifting career, Plukfelder had numerous disagreements with the national team coaches in terms of training of the world-class athletes. Plukfelder openly propagated the “better less but more” formula based on high tonnage training sessions and showing maximum results at the competitions. Style wise, Plukfelder was a very detail-oriented, demanding and, in many ways, dictatorial coach.

Currently, Rudolf Plukfelder resides in Germany.

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World Record In 1962


The cover photo from the Lift Up: History in Color series features early Gyozo Veres (1936-2011) setting up a new press world record in Budapest in May 1962. He pressed 155kg in the light heavyweight class that night.

Veres was the first Hungarian Olympic weightlifter to win the World Championship (1962) and to earn the medal at the modern Olympic games (1960).

He competed in the three Summer Olympics (1960, 1962, 1968) and won bronze medals in Rome and Tokyo, won two World championships (1962, 1963) and two European championships (1962, 1963). Veres also authored 16 world records.

Gyozo Veres was a leader of Team Hungary Weightlifting in the 1960s when his country reached the elite level in international competitions.

Needless to say, despite his success in competitions, Veres had a very complicated relationships with the Hungarian authorities – both government and weightlifting. Hungarian communist ruler of the time Janos Kadar once poked his finger into the Veres chest and said:

“We don’t fight with everyone all the time, Comrade Veres.”

After retiring from being an athlete, Veres coached in Turkey.

In 1974 he moved to Australia.

However, his weightlifting knowledge and expertise wasn’t in high demand in his new home country. He worked as an auto mechanic in Melbourne for the rest of his life.

Great Hungarian weightlifter Gyozo Veres died in 2011.