March 23rd, 2017

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Mighty Voronin


He was only 142 cm tall.

4′ 7″, if you are not comfortable with centimeters.

But he was a little strongman with unmatched dedication and will to become a champion.

Alexander Voronin (1951-1992) was an outstanding flyweight athlete. He won the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the World Championships in 1976 and 1977, the European Championship in 1976. 1977, 1979 and 1980, the Soviet Championships and Spartakiads in 1975 and 1979. Voronin set 13 world records.

He competed for the Trud Kemerovo club in the 52kg weight class.

Alexander Voronin initially studied acrobatics in the circus studio. During one of the performances, he was noticed by the weightlifting coach Gennady Borovikov.

Flyweight athletes are not an easy target to find in Russia.

Borovikov was glad to find such guy with obvious potential.

In his first day in the gym, Voronin’s bodyweight was only 48kg and did a 110kg back squat.Soon he entered his first competition and won.

It was in February 1971 and Voronin was almost 20. Not exactly the age for the rookie to expect to become world class athlete. Nowadays, some are already about to retire from lifting at this age.

But Voronin turned to be driven towards becoming the champion and in 5 years he won the Olympics.

He was ready to compete at the 1980 Olympics. The Soviet coaches were considering to send two athletes either in the flyweight or in the super heavyweight. The second option won.

Soon Voronin retired from competitive weightlifting.

In 1992, he was killed in a car accident.

The Lift Up: History in Color brings back the memorable performance of Alexander Voronin at the 1975 World Championship in Moscow.




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Coaches and Athletes: Itkin and Osmanaliev


Semyon Itkin and Kanybek Osmanaliev of Kyrgyzstan were one of the most inspiring coach-and-athlete teams of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Kanybek Osnanaliev was a super reliable and clutch type of Olympic weightlifter with exemplary work ethics in the training gym.

Semyon Itkin brought him up from a rookie level on the student weightlifting team of the University in Bishkek (Frunze) to the gold medal in the flyweight class at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.