June 24th, 2018

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Vladimir Svetilko


History in Color features Vladimir Stetilko, one of the most prominent Soviet weightlifters of the 1940s.

Vladimir Svetilko (1915 – 1996) competed for the Army Club of Batumi, Georgia and the Dynamo Club of Tbilisi, Georgia.

Svetilko was a very strong lightweight athlete. From 1943 to 1951 he was consitently winning medals of the national championships (except 1947). He won 4 gold medals in 1948-1951, silver medal in 1946 and bronze medals in 1943-1945.

Vladimir Svetilko was one of the Soviet pioneers on the international weightlifting arena. At the first World Championships with the Team USSR Weightlifring (Paris, 1946), Svetilko won a silver medal. Then, in 1950, he won a bronze medal at the Worlds and a gold at the Europeans in Paris again.

Vladimir Svetilko set a world records in the press in 1950.

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Kutsenko in Paris

Ya, Kutsenko

October 15, 1950, Paris, France – 35-year old heavyweight of Team CCCP Weightlifting, Yakov Kutsenko has been called to the competition platform for his next lift at the 1950 World Championships in Paris. Other Soviet weightlifters, Yevgeny Lopatin and Gennady Balashov are seen in the background.

The tournament in 1950 was the last one for Yakov Kutsenko. He won a silver medal at the 1950 World Championships (behind John Davis) and a gold medal at the 1950 European Championships.

Yakov Kutsenko (1915-1988) was one of the key personalities in the history of the Soviet Olympic weightlifting. As an athlete, he won 14 USSR Championships from 1937 to 1952. Nobody else won more USSR titles. He was 2x vice champion of the World (1946, 1950) and 2x European champion (1946, 1950). He set 4 world records and 58 national records. As a distinguished coach, Yakov Kutsenko was the Head Coach of Team CCCP from 1954 to 1963.


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Hans Bettembourg (Sweden)


History in Color:

September 3, 1972, Munich, Germany – Swedish middle heavyweight Hans Bettembourg performs a snatch lift in the 90kg class at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

He won a bronze Olympic and World Championships medal in 1972 with 512.5kg (182.5+145+185) total.

Hansjörg “Hans” Bettembourg (b. 1944) was one of the best Swedish weightlifter of all times. His forte was the press lift. Bettembourg set 11 press world records in his career. His last world record was 195.5kg press set in the 90kg class in Ojebyn  on February 20, 1972. On that day he also reached his best 527.5kg total which ranked him as No. 97 in the Club 500.

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Norbert Schemansky Wins a World Title in Vienna


History in Color:

October 10, 1954, Vienna, Austria – Norbert Schemansky of Detroit, USA wins the World title in the 90+kg weight class at the 1954 World Championships.

Norbert Schemansky was 30 at the time. He won a silver Olympic medal in London (1948) and a gold Olympic medal in Helsinki (1952). On his way to the gold in Vienna, Norb set world records in snatch (150kg) and in total (487.5kg) and won his 3rd gold medal at the World Championships. It was the last gold medal at the Worlds for Norbert Schemansky.