October 11th, 2017

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Frank Rothwell: Go Ireland!


In 1960 I made a decision to double my training load. To achieve this I made a set of weights from some gear wheels and started training in my kitchen. Training under these conditions was very difficult, not only because I could not risk dropping any weights, but the weights had to be stored after each training session and taken out and assembled before each new session. A typical day would be; I would arrive home from my engineering job at 7.PM,have a high protein drink, and get the weights out and assemble them. I would train until 9.30 or 9.45. I concentrated on Pressing, Power Snatch, Power Clean, heavy Pulls and Front and Back Squats. I would then store the weights away and have my dinner at about 10.PM. I did this for TWELVE YEARS! This training paid dividends and I made good progress. I broke the 700 pounds total mark at 160 pounds bodyweight.”

Frank Rothwell, My Story

Needless to say, Ireland has never been one of the Olympic weightlifting powerhouses through the history of this sport. However, that shouldn’t diminish appreciation of the spirit, passion and dedication of Irish weightlifters in their path to success on the competition platform.

Historically, there were three Olympians among weightlifters of Ireland –  Samuel DALZELLThomas HAYDEB and Francis ROTHWELL. The History in Color cover photo of this article depicts one of the Ireland’s all-time best weightlifters, Frank Rothwell competing at the 1972 Olympic Trials.

Frank Rothwell competed at the 1966 World Championship in East Berlin and at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. He was a weightlifting contender, brilliant coach and he remains an active contributor to the Olympic weightlifting history research today. For many years, he maintains My Story: Frank Rothwell’s Weightlifting Life website and his megahit channel @YouTube with tons of weightlifting videos.

Frank Rothwell is a dear friend and always provided a priceless input to the Lift Up project since the project was launched back in the late 1990s.

One of my favorite films from Frank’s collection is the one showing him training for the Olympics in his home kitchen.


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Olympic Champions of Moscow 1980 in Weightlifting


A group shot of Soviet weightlifters that won gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow:

(left to right)

Viktor Mazin (Shakhtinsk, Kazakhstan, 60kg), Yury Sandalov (USSR Weightlifting Federation, Secretary), Sultan Rakhmanov (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, 110kg+),  Yurik Vardanyan (Leninakan, Armenia, 82.5kg), Nikolay Parkhomenko (USSR Weightlifting Federation, President), Alexander Prilepin (Team USSR Head Coach), Leonid Taranenko (Minsk, Belorussia, 110kg), Kanybek Osmanaliev (Frunze, Kirgizia, 52kg).


Summer Olympics1980 Summer Olympics
Location: Moscow, SOV</p>


52 Flyweight Kanybek OSMONALIEV, Soviet Union 107.5+137.5EOR = 245OR
56 Bantamweight Daniel NUNEZ, Cuba 125WR+150 = 275WR
60 Featherweight Viktor MAZIN, Soviet Union 130+160 = 290
67.5 Lightweight Yanko RUSEV, Bulgaria 147.5OR+195WR = 342.5
75 Middleweight Asen ZLATEV, Bulgaria 160OR+200OR = 360WR
82.5 Light Heavyweight Yurik VARDANYAN, Soviet Union 177.5WR+222.5WR = 400WR
90 Middle Heavyweight Peter BACZAKO, Hungary 170EOR+207.5 = 377.5
100 Sub Heavyweight Ota ZAREMBA, Czechoslovakia 180OR+215 = 395OR
110 Heavyweight Leonid TARANENKO, Soviet Union 182.5+240WR = 422.5WR
110+ Super Heavyweight Sultan RAKHMANOV, Soviet Union 195OR+245 = 440EOR

Note: To view a complete list of the winners in the weight classes above,

please follow the link associated with the weight class.