June 7th, 2018

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Stefan Topurov Opens a New Weightlifting Era


History in Color:

October 24, 1983, Moscow, Russia – 19-year old Bulgarian feather weight Stefan Topurov clean-and-jerks new world record (180kg) at the 1983 World Championships and becomes the first man in the world to lift 3 bodyweights.

At the 1983 Worlds Topurov lost the gold to Yurik Sarlisyan by the bodyweight. Later on Stefan will win the World title (1987), European titles (1984, 1987), become Olympic vice-champion (1988) and many other weightlifting medals and awards.

However, at the historic moment on the cover photo, Stefan Topurov is a founder of the new weightlifting merit club – Triple Bodyweight Lifting Club!

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Sparre and Bukharov


History in Color series a color version of the portrait of two remarkable personalities in the early history of Olympic weightlifting in the Soviet Union. Jan Sparre Sr. (left) and Alexander Bukharov were the pioneers of the national weightlifting.

Jan Sparre Sr. (1891-1962) won 10 USSR Championships (1918. 1920, 1922, 1023, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1934). He represented various sport clubs in his native Latvia and in Moscow, Russia. Sparre set 58 national records before the WWII. His son Jan Sparre Jr. (1934- was a popular Soviet boardcaster, the voice of Olympic weightlifting on TV for many fans of the Iron Game in the USSR.

Alexander Bukharov (1892-1952) was 6x USSR Champion in the featherweight (1918, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926). He competed for the Sanitas and Dynamo clubs in Moscow and held 24 national records from 1917 to 1933 . Known as Uncle Sasha between the athletes, he later became an outstanding sports manager, for over 30 years worked as the head weightlifting department in the USSR Sports Committee.


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Norair Nurikian


History in Color:

September 16, 1975, Moscow, Russia – Olympic champion Norair Nurikian of Team Bulgaria competes in the 56kg weight class at the 1975 World Championships in Moscow.

Norair Nurikian (b. 1948) is one of the key figures in the history of Bulgarian weightlifting. Discovered and brought up as an athlete by legendary Ivan Abadzhiev, Nurikian became the first Olympic champion in weightlifting for Team Bulgaria when he won a gold medal in the featherweight at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

At the 1975 World Championships in Moscow (shown on the cover photo) Nurikian bombed out. However, a year later, mighty Norair Nurikian won his second Olympic gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Unlike in 1972, he did it in the 56kg class.


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Trendafil Stoichev, Bulgaria


History in Color:

September 20, 1975, Moscow, Russia – 22-year old light heavyweight Trendafil Stoichev of Asenovgrad, Bulgaria wins a silver medal at the 1975 World Championship in Moscow.

Trendafil Stoichev (b. 1953) was one of most talented young Bulgarian lifters of the 1970s. He competed in the 82.5kg class and won 1 gold (1974) and 2 silver (1975, 1976) medals at the World Championships, 2 silver (1974, 1975) and 1 bronze (1976) European Championships medals.

At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Stoichev became a silver Olympic medalist with the 360kg (162.5+197.5) total.

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Gyozo Veres: Early Years


The History in Color presents a color version of the photo of young Hungarian athlete Gyozo Veres practicing a clean-and-jerk lift outdoors.

As we all know, Veres became one of the best weightlifters in the world.

Gyozo Veres (1936-2011) was the first Hungarian Olympic weightlifter to win the World Championship (1962) and to earn the medal at the modern Olympic games (1960).

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Alexander Pervy (1979)


History in Color:

One of the brightest young athletes of the Soviet and international Olympic weightlifting, middleweight Alexander Pervy (1960-1985) of the Army club in Donetsk, Ukraine competes at the 1979 USSR Cup in Frunze, Kirgizia.

Needless to say, Alexander Pervy was one of my personal favorite weightlifters of all times and nations. His battle for gold vs. Asen Zlatev of Bulgaria in the 75kg class at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow is one of the most exciting weightlifting battles in my life. Many experts told me afterwards that it was impossible to beat Asen Zlatev that night. Not sure if it is true – Alexander fought hard and set 3 world records that night.

In 1987, I was no longer involved in competitive weightlifting. I worked on TV and did a lot of stand-up comedy for a living. We had a concert tour and visited Donetsk, the hometown of Alexander Pervy. Our friends in Donetsk asked me what would I like to see in Donetsk. Without a blink in my eye, I said I’d like to see I said I’d like to see Alexander Pervy. That was the first time I found out that Alexander passed away 2 years ago at 25.