June 11th, 2018

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Cameraman in Moscow (1983)


History in Color:

Gottfried Schödl, President of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), is videotaping the competitions at the 1983 Wold Championships at the Izmaylovo Sports Palace in Moscow, Russia.

Gottfried Schödl of Austria ran the IWF between 1972 and 2000. He led this sport for a record number of 28 years. He was first elected after the elimination of the Olympic press in 1972 and ran the Federation till the of the 20th century. Originally a skater, prior to become the IWF President in 1972, Gottfried Schödl was the President of the Austrian Federation.

Schödl was also a sports journalist and writer and loved history and statistics of Olympic weightlifting.

In the early 2000s the Lift Up project received a letter from Gottfried Schödl’s family with a very nice comments about the project and a help offer. The project was already running for a few years and it was perhaps the first recognition and boost for Lift Up from weightlifting officials of the top level.


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Americans in Stockholm


History in Color:

September 1963, Stockholm, Sweden – Bill March (left) and Norbert Schemansky of Team USA Weightlifting are enjoying the view of Swedish capital from their hotel room during the 1963 World Championships in Stockholm.

Bill March competed in the 90kg class and took the 4th place with the 470kg (155+137.7+177.5) total. It was the 3rd best total but the bronze medal went to Eduard Brovko of the USSR because he was lighter than March.

Norbert Schemansky won the silver medal in the super heavyweight with 537.5kg (180+160+197.5).


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John Davis in Milan


History in Color:

October 28, 1951, Milan, Italy – John Davis of Team USA competes in the 90kg weight class at the 1951 World Championships in Milan.

Legendary John Davis was 30 at the time.

His bodyweight was 103.5kg. He pressed 142.5kg, snatched 130kg and jerked 160kg.

With the 432.5kg total, Davis won a gold medal.

It was the 6th and the last world title of the Legend.


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Junior Contender From Bulgaria


History in Color:

March 17, 1973, Tashkent, Uzbekistan – 15-year old junior Yanko Rusev performs a snatch lift for Team Bulgaria at the 1973 Frienship Cup in Tashkent.

In a few years, Yanko Rusev will win 5 World Championships, 5 European Championships and set 25 world records.

He will win the Summer Olympic games in Moscow and will become one of the best athletes in the world of Olympic weightlifting.

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Sergo Ambartsumyan


History in color:

The cover photo features legendary Soviet heavyweight Sergo Ambartsumyan (1910-1983).

Sergo Ambartsumyan was a super strongman of the pre World War II times in the Soviet Union. He was a usual installation of all the early parades of athletes on the Red Square where he demonstrated amazing strength shows.

In 1936, Joseph Stalin invited Sergo Ambartsumyan to his office and ordered him to beat the world record set by Joseph Manger of Germany.

“Comrade Sergo,” asked Stalin. “What do you need to beat the record of this Nazi Manger?”

“I need more food to eat, ” replied Ambartsumyan.

Stalin gave him a lot of food and a… year to accomplish the mission. He ordered to provide Sergo with equipment to train and assigned weightlifting coach Jan Sparre (we wrote about him before) to prepare Sergo for the challenge.

In a year, Ambartsumyan made Joseph Stalin happy. He beat Manger’s record by 7.5kg!

Sergo Ambartsumyan competed for the Dynamo and Spartak clubs of Yerevan, Armenia. He won 3 USSR Championships (1933, 1934, 1935) and set 30 national records.

After the war, Sergo Ambartsumyan was selected to compete for Team CCCP at their first World Championships in Paris in 1946. Sergo was 36 and won the 5th place at the tournament.



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Super Super Super Heavyweights


History in Color:

May 23, 1982, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine – Best Soviet super heavyweights are entering the arena for the introduction at the 1982 USSR Championships in Dnepropetrovsk.

Guess who won the title this time?


Championships of the USSR (1918-1991)

Championships of the USSR (1918-1991)1982 Championship of the USSR
Location: Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine
Weight Class: Super Heavyweight  [110+ kg]</p>

More Info On the 1982 Championship of the USSR

Rank Athlete Results (kg)
1 Anatoly  PISARENKO, Dynamo  Kiev 457.5 = 202.5+255
2 Alexander  GUNYASHEV, Unions  Chelyabinsk 430 = 185+245
3 Alexander  STOLYAROV, Army  Vitebsk 430 = 190+240

Note: The results above include the following results (kg)


Back to Search Tournaments


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Alexander Galkin


History in Color:

July 20, 1971, Moscow, Russia – 19-year old Alexander Galkin of Spartak, Donetsk competes in the 75kg weight class at the 1971 USSR Spartakiade in Moscow.

Alexander Galkin won a bronze medal in the tournament.

He ended up with a solid 455kg total (150+130+175). The junior lifter managed to place right behind two experienced athletes, Vladimir Kanygin and Valentin Mikhailov.

In a few months Galkin won the USSR Cup with 470kg total and won gold medal in both the snatch (135kg) and jerk (180kg).

In 1974, Galkin competed for the Army Club of Kiev, Ukraine and wins a silver medal (Viktor Kurentsov won the gold). A year later, Galkin won the 1975 Ukraine Championship in Voroshilovgrad and reached his best total 320kg (137.5 + 182.5) at the 1975 USSR Championship (6th place)

At that time, Galkin was only 23. I couldn’t trace any info on this young and promising athlete after 1975.

I asked for help and here is the answer I received from his former teammate:

“I knew Alexander Galkin since 1968. We trained together in Spartak club in Donetsk. His coach at the time was Michael Toper. He passed away. We were very young and had the whole life ahead. After his successes in sports, something went wrong with Alexander. He began to drink. After that he lost his job and stopped training. He committed a suicide in 1980. I don’t know the details. Perhaps the year of death is not accurate. I got this info from the athletes I know. They kept in touch with Alexander. I am 68 now and it’s so sad to write about it. Stay healthy and patient – to all”.

It was posted on public discussion forum – so, I don’t violate privacy. Of course, it’s very sad and tragic. My take on sad cases like this – better know the truth than rumors that make the whole story worse.

R.I.P., to the Champion!

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Soviet Weightlifters in Montreal


History in Color:

Soviet Olympic weightlifters in Montreal (1976, left to right):

Valery Shary (82.5kg, Minsk Belarus), Petr Korol (67.5kg, Lvov, Ukraine), David Rigert (90kg, Shakhty, Russia), Igor Kudyukov, (Head Coach, Moscow, Russia), Vasily Alexeev (110+kg, Ryazan, Russia)


  • The original black-and-white  photo came from the archive of Peter Korol;

  • The Summer Olympics in Montreal were held in July 1976. I highly doubt that it was that cold in July in Canada – so that the Soviet athletes had to be dressed so warm. So, my guess the photo was made in the winter before the Olympics. Perhaps, it was a scouting visit to overview the venue of the upcoming tournament;

  • Interestingly enough all four lifters won gold medals in Montreal.

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Coaches and Athletes: Bozhko and Lomakin

Lomakinm, Bozhko (1958)

History in Color:

May 1958, Chicago, IL – Soviet light heavyweight Trofim Lomakin (left) and his coach Alexander Bozhko are discussing the “game plan” before the beginning of the 1958 USSR vs. USA weightlifting match in Chicago.

During the series of 3 matches in May 1958, Trofim Lomakin competed vs. Jim George and won all three matches.

Results can be seen here.

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Leif Nilsson of Sweden


Heavyweight Leif Nilsson of Team Sweden is training in Sundbyberg, Sweden.

Leif Nilsson (b. 1952) was one of the best Swedish weightlifters in the 1970s.

He is a 2x Olympian and competed for his country at the Summer Olympics in Montreal (1976, 7th place) and in Moscow (1980, 4th place). Both times he lifted in the 110kg class.

He also competed at several World and European Championships. His personal best performance was in Gettysburg, USA in 1978 when he won bronze World and European medals with the 385kg (175+210) total.