November 27th, 2017

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Bob Hoffman and Team USA

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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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


There is no story about U.S. Olympic weightlifting without mentioning the name of Bob Hoffman (1898-1985), the founder of York Barbell Club in York, PA and the person who for decades had a profound impact on development of this sport in the country. He was almost solely respomsible on bringing U.S. weightlifting from being peripheral in the world in the 1930s to the leading powerhouse of the 1940s and 1950s and later in the hist0ry.


The Lift Up: History in Color series at Chidlovski Blog Chidlovski presents the cover photo 0f Bob Hoffmanand Team USA at the opening of the USA vs USSR weightlifting match in Chicago.


Left to right:

John Terpak, Bob Hoffman, Chuck Vinci (56kg, York Barbell), Ike Berger (60kg, , York Barbell), Joe Pitman (67.5kg, York Barbell), Clarence Johnson (IWF), translator (?), event organizer (?), Jim Bradford (90+kg, Bradford Barbell)


The event took place on May 12, 1958 and remains one of the exciting examples of the USA vs. USSR weightlifting rivalry classics during the Cold War era.


 

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Phil Grippaldi

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The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 to 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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


History in Color:


Phil Grippaldi (b. 1946) was one of the most talented and popular U.S. Olympic weightlifters in the 1970s.


He competed in the 90kg weight class and had an impressive look of a bodybuilder and strength of an Olympic weightlifter.


Grippaldi grew up in New Jersey. When he was a kid, he was introduced into bodybuilding routines by one of his neighbors. At 16, little Phil was 5’5″ and had a 19″ biceps.


Grippaldi’s coaches in weightlifting were Butch Toth of the Keasbey Eagles weightlifting club and Micheal Huszka of the Magnificent Seven (legendary Team Hungary Weightlifting of 1960s)


Phil Grippaldi managed to win 6 titles at the USA National championships (1967, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977), won 3 Pan American Games (1967, 1971, 1975) and competed for Team USA Weightlifting at three Olympics. He took the 7th place in Mexico City in 1968 and the 4th place in Munich in 1972. At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Phil showed the 4th result with the total of 355кг (150+205) in the middle heavyweight. However, he failed the drug test afterwards and the result was eliminated.


At the 1970 World Championship in Columbus, OH, Phil Grippaldi won the silver medal finishing secong after Vasily Kolotov of the USSR.


On the History in Color photo:

Phil Grippaldi is at the 1972 Olympics in Munich (left, John Terpak seen in the back) and preparing for the lift at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (right)

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Bob Bednarski

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The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 to 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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


The 8th Wonder of the World…


Robert “Bob” Bednarski of Team USA was one of the most exciting and fun to watch Olympic weightlifters in the 1960s.


He won the World Championship in 1969 and was the silver medalist in 1966 and bronze medalist in 1970. He won five U.S. Championships in the heavyweight class from 1963 to 1970 and set 12 World records.



R. Bednarski



On June 9, 1968, Bob Bednarski set two super heavyweight world records in York, PA. He pressed 206.5kg and cj’d 220.5kg. He became the strongest man on the planet of the time.


Despite of his promising debut on the international arena when he became the vice-Champion of the World in East Berlin in 1966, his rise to the elite international level wasn’t smooth and easy. At the 1967 Pan American Games, Bednarski suffered a career ending elbow injury but managed to come back the next year when when he set two world records at the 1968 Senior National Championships.


Bednarski was always the favorite of the crowd when he stepped on the competition platform to lift. His lightning-quick athletic lifting style and agility earned him love of the fans and allowed him to out lift the opponents much bigger than himself.


Robert “Bob”Bednarski (1944-2004) was a true legend of American and world Olympic weightlifting. The fans and experts called him “the eights wonder of the world” along with the other seven.


So, here it goes – the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria and… the amazing Bob Bednarski of U.S. Weightlifting!


 

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Chuck Vinci

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The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 to 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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


The cover photo from our History in Color Series features the snatch lift by 2x Olympic Champion Charles Vinci of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Charles Vinci (b. 1933) was one of the greatest bantamweight athletes ever. His gold medal in Rome in 1960 was the last gold medal that the United State won at the Olympics in weightlifting.


On the national US team, Vinci represented the once greatest York Barbell Club founded by legendary Bob Hoffman, “the father of American weightlifting”. In addition to the national titles in 1954-1956 and in 1958-1961, Charles Vinci brought his country two gold Olympic medals in Melbourne, 1956 and Rome, 1960.


Needless to say, the 4-foot 10-inch Vinci was famous as a clutch winner of weightlifting battles.


At the 1956 Olympics, he was facing the bantamweight world champion Vasily Stogov from Russia. Stogov was famous for his phenomenal physical strength and held the world record in total of that time. Both Stogov and Vinci pressed and snatched 105 kg and the winner had to be determined in the last lift, the clean and jerk lift. Vinci managed to lift 132.5 kg and to beat Stogov by 5 kilograms in the “war of muscles and nerves” that night. In 1960, Vinci won the gold medal competing against the rising star of Japanese and world weightlifting, Yoshinobu Miyake.


Like a true legend of sports, Vinci has his name surrounded with stories. One of the most popular one is about his weigh-in for the Olympics in Melbourne. Before the competition, Vinci was 1.5 pound overweight. After and hour of extensive running and sweating, Vinci was still seven ounces over the limit with 15 minutes to go. In the last moment, Vinci decided to go for a severe hair-cut that did the trick and, eventually, let him win his first gold medal at the Olympics.

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: Bruce Wilhelm

Rigertomania in USA


The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 to 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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


Bruce Wilhelm (b. 1945) is one of the most memorable figures in the Iron Game history.


He was definitely a talented multi-disciplinary athlete. In his youth years, he showed a huge promise in the track-and-field (shot put) and wrestling (freestyle and greco roman) national level competitions.


Wilhelm was one of the key athletes in U.S. strongman world. He won won the inaugural World’s Strongest Man competition in 1977, and won it again in 1978. Bruce spent several years organizing and officiating contests afterwards.


As an Olympic weightlifter, Bruce Wilhelm was the US National AAU Weightlifting Champion in the super heavyweight class in 1975 and 1976. He was a vice champion of the 1975 Pan-American Games in Mexico City and placed 5th at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal in the 110+ kg class.

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Go USA Weightlifting Marathon: John Davis

owl-davis-1948


The 2017 IWF World Championships tournament is scheduled to be held in Anaheim, USA from November 27, 2017 to 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 and all the fans of the Iron Game who certainly will be following one of the key Olympic weightlifting events of the year.


John Davis (1921-1984) is a true all-time legend of Olympic weightlifting.


He was the heavyweight king of the world from the end of 1930s to mid 1950s.


He won the Olympics in London (1948) and in Helsinki (1952) . The super heavyweight class at the time was 82.5+kg in 1948 and 90+kg in 1952. His bodyweight was 98.6kg and 104.3kg accordingly.


P.George and J.Davis

History doesn’t accept if-then clauses. However, by many accounts, Davis could have won a couple of more Olympics had they not been cancelled because of the World War II.


He won his first world title in 1936 and the second one in… 1946! His total count of major championships silverware included 6 gold medals at the Worlds and 2 golds at the Summer Olympics.


John Davis also set 16 world records in his career.


John Davis was born and grew up in the NYC area. In his childhood years he was good in gymnastics. After the end of a weightlifting career he worked for years as a correction officer at the famous Rikers Island jail facilities.


Besides weightlifting, Davis had two big passions in his life. It was jazz and opera. He actually was a very good opera aria performer but couldn’t pursue this career due to a chronic medical defect (hiccups).