November 12th, 2017

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: John Grimek of York Barbell

John Grimek


The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 t0  December 5, 2017. The Lift Up and our sub-publications continue the Go USA Weightlifting Marathon superseries of historical articles to cheer up the Team USA ang all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting of the year.


The photo from our History in Cover series features legendary U.S. bodybuilder and Olympic weightlifter John Grimek (1910-1998) performing Olympic weightlifting routines in front of the audience back in his prime.


John Grimek trained with the York Barbell Club and was one of the “usual suspects” in Bob Hoffman’s empire of strength headquartered in York. PA.


Grimek’s look and feel on the magazine’s photos and competitions, in many ways, helped Bob Hoffman’s enterprise to propel to the very top of American strength-related market.


He was a definite “poster boy” of men’s strength and physique as his photos were published on the covers of the “Strength and Health” and all major weightlifting publications of the time.


Obviously, for many fans, Grimek is known as an impressive bodybuilder featured on the covers of literally all magazines of the strength and bodybuilding magazines.  As a bodybuilder, he won the AAU Mr. America (1940, 1941), Mr. Universe (1948) and Mr. USA (1949), In bodybuilding world, Grimek earned such nicknames as “The Glow” and “The Monarch of Muscledom”.


However, Grimek won was successful both in bodybuilding and Olympic weightlifting contests and tournaments of his time.


As an Olympic weightlifter, John Grimek competed for the Team USA at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He won the 9th place with the 357.5kg total (115+105+137.5), Grimek won the U.S. national championship in 1936, vice-chapionship in 1935 and a bronze medal in 1940.


 

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Team USA (1958)

Team USA 1958


The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 t0  December 5, 2017. The Lift Up and our sub-publications continue the Go USA Weightlifting Marathon superseries of historical articles to cheer up the Team USA ang all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting of the year.


One of the last group photos of Team USA 1958 made in York, PA prior to taking off for the World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden:


Left to right:

Dave Ashman (90+kg), Jim George (82.5kg), Dave Sheppard (90kg), Tommy Kono (75kg), Isaac Berger (60kg), Chuck Vinci (56kg)


For those who don’t know, Bob Hoffman for decades sponsored the U.S. weightlifting from his own pocket. Athletes lived in the bungalow of his hilltop estate and trained in his facilities in York.


Of course, financially one American millionaire couldn’t really compete with the rising Soviet sports powerhouse. After all when the USSR collapsed in 1991, it left hundreds millionaires and dozens of billionaires. What chance did Bob Hoffman actually have to compete against the Big Red Machine?


But, back in 1958, hopes and expectations were still high. American weightlifting continued its battles against the rising weightlifting power.


The photo depicts six U.S. athletes from Team USA 1958 and all six came back home from Stockholm with medals.


Chuck Vinci of Ohio won silver medal in the bantamweight class (56KG)and Russian Vladimir Stogov won the gold.


In the featherweight, Isaac Berger won the first place with a 10KG lead over silver medalist Eugene Minaev of Russia.


Legendary Tommy Kono won the 75KG competition with Fedor Bogdanovsky on the second place.


Jim George won silver medal in the 82.5 KG class behind Siberian strong man Trofim Lomakin. He managed to beat Lomakin in the snatch and cj’d 170KG – same as Trofim. But 10KG lead in the press lift gave Lomakin the gold.


Middle heavyweight Dave Sheppard won silver medal in the 90KG class with Arkady Vorovyev being crowned as No. 1 in the world.


In the 90KG+ category, Alexey Medvedev won the title and Dave Ashman won the silver medal. Needless to say, Ashman was the first man in the world to clean and jerk 200KG. He had world class lifts in the snatch and cj but lacked strength in the press lift. In Stockholm, he was only 5th in the press and then managed to win the second place in total due to outstanding results in his dynamic lifts.


Team USA 1958


 

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The Last Gold of Viktor Kurentsov

kurentsov-chussr1974


On the cover photo from our History in Color series, legendary Soviet middleweight Viktor Kurentsov competes at the 1974 USSR Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia.


At the time Viktor was 33. He did win his weight class with 322.5kg (142.5+180) in 1974.


It was the last gold medal that Kurentsov won at the national championships. His 9th national title in his long and successful career in Olympic weightlifting.


Viktor Kurentsov is a true legend of the Soviet and international weightlifting. He was a “king” of the middleweights of his time.


In the Soviet tournaments, he competed for the Army Khabarovsk and won 9 USSR Championships (1964-1972, 1974). On the international level, Kurentsov won 5 World Championships (1965-1970) and 7 European Championships (1964-1971)


He was a 2-time Olympian. In 1964, he won silver in Tokyo and, in 1969, he became an Olympic champion in Mexico City. He was a candidate to compete at the Summer Olympics in 1972. He was the 1972 USSR Championship but lost the 1972 Europeans in Romania to Yordan Mitkov of Bulgaria.


The footage below features some highlights of the 1966 World Championship in East Berlin, Germany with Viktor Kurentsov, Hans Zdrazhila, Vladimir Belyaev and Leonid Zhabotinsky.





 

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What Happens In Russia Stays In Russia: 100 Years of the Russian Revolution

happens-in-russia-100


The centenary of the Russian Revolution (1917-2017) went almost unnoticed in Russia.


There were no official celebrations. No TV programs. No rallies on the Red Square. I think there were more celebrations and discussions “outside the Iron Curtain” than in the birth place of the event that was intended to change the world.


To some extend I expected that something like this might take place. Official celebrations has always always been coming from the Russian authorities and current residents of Kremlin don’t have a consensus on how to interpret the events in October 1917 in the light of what Russia is today.


Most of them are rather well financially and has a luxury of banking accounts and real estate  properties abroad.


Being rich is no longer a sin in Russia. Quiet an opposite, in fact.


It’s a different country now. With different rulers and different views and values.


Still, I was a bit surprised that the whole concept of centenary was lost to the dusty history text books.


Not even a day off. Just a workday in a calendar.


What Happens In Russia Stays In Russia