January 17th, 2018

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First Russian World Champion

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History in color:

The cover photo features our portrait of Sergey Eliseev (1876-1937) of Ufa, Russia, one of the first professional strongmen in the world, kettlebell and Olympic weightlifter of the early era in the Iron Game history.


Sergey Eliseev is considered the first Russian weightlifter to win the World championship. It happened in Milan in 1899 when Eliseev jerked 86.8kg (right hand) and 143.3kg (two hands) and pressed 116.7kg. He was the lightest contender of the tournament  with his bodyweight of 92.2kg.


At the 1903 World Championship in Paris, Eliseev won a silver medal.


Besides purely weightlifting, the early Russian strongmen competed in wrestling and in various types of impressive lifts somehow similar to the strongman’s contests today. There were no official Olympic weightlifting federation, no official set of rules and no regular tournaments held between the lifters at the time.


Still, the world kept the names of the first athletes that competed in the early contests. According to various Russian weightlifting researchers, it was Sergey Eliseev that is considered as the first Russian world champion.

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Mario Martinez (1957-2018)

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Vice champion of the 1984 Summer Olympics, Mario Martinez of Team USA died on January 14, 1960 at the age of 60.


Mario Martinez was one of the most memorable and inspiring American weightlifters of his generation. He was a 3-time U.S. Olympian representing the nation at the Summer Olympics in 1984, 1988 and 1992. He competed in the super heavyweight and became a silver Olympic medalist in Los Angeles in 1984. He took the 4th place in Seoul (1988) and the 8th place in Barcelona (1992).


Martinez won medals at three Pan American Games – gold (1987), silver (1991) and bronze (1995).


In his 20-plus-year long career as an athlete in the Olympic weightlifting, he won 1o national championships and set numerous U.S. records.


Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of Mario Martinez.


RIP, champion!