August 25th, 2017

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Arturs Sliede of Riga, Latvia


History of Olympic weightlifting consists of many stories about legendary weightlifters, coaches, trainers and administrators.

Some of them are well-known. Some less.

Some for a variety of reasons escaped the spotlight of historic reviews and writings.

One of the incentives behind the History in Color series is to bring back the names of those unsung heroes of the Iron Game.

Arturs Sliede of Riga, Latvia might be considered one of those.

The cover photo depicts Arturs Sliede competing his home republic of Latvia in the super heavyweight class at the 1971 USSR Spartakiad in Moscow.

Arturs was born in 1943 and had a remarkable career in this sport in the 1960s and 1970s. In his career in Olympic weightlifting, Sliede won 5 Latvian titles  and set 45 records of Latvia. He was the second lifter in Larvia to join the 500 Club of those who totaled 500kg in Olympic weightlifting. He reached the magic number in 1969. Legendary Karl Pumpurins also achieved the 500 mark in 1969 but managed to do it a bit earlier than Sliede.

Sliede owns the eternal record of Latvia in total of three lifts. It is  565kg (197,5+157,5+210) and it was set in 1972. The press lift was discontinued in 1973 and Arturs Sliede’s record will stay forever.

Needless to say, Arturs was a truly multidisciplinary athlete. Besides being a champion Olympic weightlifter,  he was a champion of Latvia in volleyball and set many records in the track and field tournaments (shot put).


Именно Слиеде принадлежит вечный рекорд Латвии – 565кг в троеборье (197,5+157,5+210). С отменой жима в 1973 году этот рекорд уже никто не  побьёт.

Интересно, что Артурс Слиеде был разносторонним атлетом. Помимо тяжелой атлетики он был чемпионом Латвии по воллейболу и легкой атлетике (толкание ядра).

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Mati Nuude of Tallinn, Estonia


On the photo, Mati Nuude competes in the press lifting at the USSR Spartakiad in Moscow in 1971.

It’s hard to add Nuude to the list of “unsung heroes”. Mati Nuude was a very popular musician and singer in Estonia. Prior to performing on stage, Nuude was a very solid and distinguished Olympic weightlifter.

Mati Nuude (1941-2001) lifted weights and sang songs for his folks in Estonia.

His father was an Estonia officer and he was one of many to be swept by Joseph Stalin’s purges after the end of the World War II. In 1949, Mati with his brother and mother were deported to the Northern Kazakhstan, miles away from his hometown Tallinn. In 1958, Mati returned to Estonia.

He was trained in weightlifting by the legendary Olympic champion Alfred Neuland. He competed from 1965 to 1975 and won Estoian championship 7 times. He even earned #8 on list of the strongest super heavyweights in the world one year.

In 1975, Nuude retired from weightlifting and joined the pop music band called “Apelsin” (Orange Fruit). The group soon became very popular in Estonia and in the Soviet Union. Mati sang with the band from 1975 to 1989 and then launched a solo career of pop singer.

How about this for a singing unsung hero of Olympic weightlifting?


После окончания карьеры в спорте, Нууде стал очень известным эстрадным певцом. С 1975 по 1989 гг он выступал в знаменитой группе “Апельсин”. Впоследствии продолжил петь соло.

Его отец был репрессирован после войны и в 1949 году Мати, его мать и брат были депортированы в Северный Казахстан. В Эстонию Мати вернулся в 1958 году.