December 5th, 2017

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The Last World Championship For Yanko Rusev

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On the cover “History in Color” photo, legendary Bulgarian lightweight and middleweight Yanko Rusev competes in the snatch lifting at the 1983 World Championship in Moscow.


Yanko Rusev (born 1958) was a 5x World champion, an Olympic champion (1980). He authored 25 world records in his career.


In 1977, 19-year old Yanko Rusev became a vice champion of the World in the 60kg class and managed to set a clean-and-jerk world record in the 4th attempt (165kg).


The young Bulgarian teenager grew into a true legend of the 67.5kg and the 75kg class.


The photo captures Rusev after his return to the lightweight after two years of competing in the middleweight. He lost the 1983 WC battle for gold to Joachim Kunz of East Germany. It happened to be the last World Championship in Yanko Rusev’s career.


Due to the boycott of the Summer Olympics in LA, Yanko Rusev didn’t compete in the 1984 Olympics. Instead, he won the alternative Friendshio Cup in Varna with the 337.5kg total (145+192.5).


 

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David Rigert in Munich (1972)

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The History in Color photo depicts, perhaps, one of the saddest moments in the sports career of legendary David Rigert.


He was eliminated from the competition in the middle heavyweight class at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.


Rigert just bombed out in his third try to snatch 160kg and was absolutely devastated. The original black-and-white photo came from the Swedish newspaper with the comment “Soviet Union’s David Rigert is seen tearing his short off after loosing the Gold medal” (September 4)

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Forever Happy Here

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It’s the beginning of December in town.


Most of the birds left the town and flew down south.


Only real die hards stay with us now. Like this sparrow fella on the wall at the Mount Auburn Hospital.


“Why don’t you go south with the others,” I asked the fella when he chirped a jolly greeting to me. “Why don’t you join the migration crowd and go to the warmer lands?”


“Migration… Schmigration… Don’t be silly!” answered the fella. “I am a sparrow. I feel good where I am. Besides, they have plenty of us over there – why bother fighting on the foreign turf…”


You can’t deny little fella’s logic. We stay where we feel good. We feel good where we are…


Temperature and sun rays don’t matter.

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The Other Side of My World

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Things have been hectic and pressuring lately.


With Sue in the hospital, my world turned into a cold and lonesome place.


On the positive side, with a frequent rides to Cambridge in the last few weeks, I sometimes stopped and made pictures of the other side of my world.


It’s the same town but viewed from a different angle.


It looks pretty because I am not used to this view. Have I been daily driving along the Charles River, I wouldn’t even bother to stop to look at it.


Still, what a beautiful other side of my world, isn’t it?


It’s Boston from the Charles River.

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Team USA 1946

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The “History in Color” series presents a glimpse on one of the most memorable Team USA Weightlifting that won the 1946 World Championship in Paris, France.


Left to right:

John Davis (82.5+kg, gold medal), Emerick Ishikawa (60kg, 6th place), Frank Spellman (75kg, bronze medal), John Terpak (75kg, silver medal), Stanley Stanczyk (67.5kg, gold medal), and coach Bob Hoffman.

Note: Member of Team USA 1946, Frank Kay wasn’t a part of this photo session. He won silver medal in the 82.5kg class.


The black-and-white original of this photo appeared in the “Strength and Health” magazine with a caption:


The first American team to lift against the Russians, the 1946 World’s Championship Team. The Russians entered ten lifters to 6 for the U.S., but our team came back with the team championship.


As old Russian saying goes “every coin has two sides” and obviously, in this case, Soviets had a different view on the 1946 Worlds in Paris.


It was the first ever world championship that the Team CCCP went to participate in. The team mostly consisted if aging athletes that lifted before World War II. Grigory Novak won gold medal in the 82.5kg weight class and became the first ever Soviet World champion – not just in the weightlifting but overall. It was a huge success for Novak and he became a national hero in the Soviet Union and a definite personal favorite of Joseph Stalin.


Despite the different interpretations of the 1946 WC in the U.S. and Russia, the truth is that it was a superb Team USA and a superb performance of Grigory Novak. It was the first post World War II world championship and team USA began its journey as the best weightlifting team in the world of the upcoming decade.


As for the Soviet side, they put sending weightlifting teams to the World tournaments on hold. The realized that the team isn’t ready for being on top of the world and needed a new wave of younger athletes capable of facing the challenge.


The wait period lasted till 1952 when the Soviets went to compete at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, the first Olympics ever with the USSR participation.




 


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Soviet weightlifting superstar Grigory Novak at the 1946 WC in Paris (left) and, as a circus act strongman (right), after leaving the competition platform.