September 9th, 2018

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Legends and Myths: Vlasov and Castro

My father told me this story. I don’t know if it is a true story or not. So, here it goes like I heard it.

Back in the 1960s, Fidel Castro often invited Soviet athletes to visit the Freedom Island of Cuba.

Soviet weightlifter Yury Vlasov was one of the most popular sports personalities of that era.  He was the strongest man on Earth of the time.

Castro was also quiet strong and athletic.

During Vlasov’s visit to Cuba, Fidel suddenly offered Vlasov to arm wrestle him.

Vlasov refused.

Fidel insisted.

No person was able to refuse Castro on Cuba. So, Vlasov agreed.

Supposedly, Vlasov relatively fast won that arm wrestling match.

What did you expect? He was an Olympic super heavyweight champion and held all world records.

With all this said, no one could win against Fidel Castro.

Castro congratulated Vlasov with the victory… And after that Vlasov was never invited to visit Cuba.

True or not but it was the last meet between two big legends and two big myths of the 1960s.

More about Yury Vlasov at the Lift Up.

This article is a translation of the original published @ Chidlovski Blog Chidlovski.

We will continue publishing translations of original articles available in Russian.

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Alexander Gunyashev (USSR)

History in Color:

December 19, 1983, Sodertelje, Sweden – Alexander Gunyashev of Taganrog, Russia competes in the super heavyweight class at the 1983 USSR Cup in Leningrad.

Alexandr Gunyashev won the 1983 USSR Cup in the 110+kg and won gold medal at the USSR Championships in snatch and clean-and-jerk. He set 2 world records in the tournament – 462.5kg total and 207.5kg snatch.

Alexander Gunyashev (b. 1959) was one of the most promising Soviet super heavyweight of post-Alexeev’s era.

Gunyashev was a part of impressive wave of athletes that emerged after Vasily Alexeev retired from competitions and the place of the strongest man in the World became vacant. The group included well-known athletes (Sultan Rakhmanov, Vladimir Marchuk and more) as well as younger athletes (Anatoly Pisarenko, Alexander Kurlovich, Sergey Didyk and more)

At the same time, another weightlifting legend David Rigert was changing gears from being an athlete to coaching athletes. To the benefit of Gunyashev, David Rigert began to train Gunyashev during this transition. Rigert definitely knew the potential of his new student when he was appointed as the Head Coach of the national team.

At the very beginning of his rise to the very top of the world listing of supers in the early 1980s, Gunyashev’s strongest lift was his snatch. Later on he significantly improved his clean-and-jerk performance.

In 1985, Alexander Gunyashev became a European champion with 417.5kg total (192.5+225). The cover photo depicts Alexander Gunyashev at the 1985 World championship in Sodertelje where he won a silver medal. He did improve his total by 15kg  (432.5kg, 195+237.5) compared to the Europeans but it wasn’t enough to beat Antonio Krastev of Bulgaria.

In 1983, Gunyahev won the USSR Cup with 462.5kg total and national gold medals both in snatch (207.5kg) and clean-and-jerk (255kg).

He also won the USSR championship in 1988 where he snatched 212.5kg, cj’d 252.5kg and reached 465kg total (212.5+252.5). 

Alexander Gunuashev set 6 world records in his career – 4 in snatch, 2 in total.

It was Gunyashev who totaled his outstanding world record of 465kg on June 1, 1984 in Reims.

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Sung-Jip Kim (Korea)

History in Color:

September 27, 1947, Philadelphia, USA – Middleweight Sung-Jip Kim of Team Korea wins a bronze medal in the 75kg class at the 1947 World Championships in Philadelphia, PA.

Sung-Jip Kim (1919-xxxx) was a milestone Korean Olympic weightlifter. He won the first ever Olympic medal for Korea. It took place on August 10, 1948 at the 1948 Summer Olympics when Kim became a bronze medalist in the 75kg class in London. Sung-Jip Kim  won the press part with the Olympic record of 122.5kg and finished thirds overall behind Frank Spellman and Peter George (both Team USA) with a total of 380kg.

Sung-Jip Kim was a 3x Olympian of Korea. Besides London, he competed at the Summer Olympics in Helsinki (1952) and in Melbourne (1956).  Both times, Kim competed as a middleweight and won bronze medal in 1952 and 5th place in 1956.

Besides his prominent performance at the Olympics, Sung-Jip Kim won a bronze medal at the World Championships (1947, shown on the cover photo) and a gold medal at the 1954 Asian Games in Manila.

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Wanna Be Rich, Arthur?

Well, I did it… I joined the Facebook! I like it. I share my thoughts, my interests for whatever they are worth.

One thing I don’t like so far… I don’t like these messages from friends and strangers concerned about my wealth.

Please stop sending me these “Wannabe Rich?” messages with all these offers and scenarios.

I don’t like it. It puzzles and insults me.

You don’t know me. I don’t know you.

Stop it. Period.