November 5th, 2018

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Weightlifting Match in Budapest (1950)


History in Color :


March 1950, Budapest, Hungary – Weightlifting match between Hungary and the Soviet Union is being held in the Budapest Sports Hall.


The weightlifter performing a split style snatch on the platform is a lightweight Vladimir Svetilko of Team USSR. His teammate Yevgeny Lopatin, assisting Svetilko in the tournament, can be seen next to the competition platform in the back. Also in the back, there are portraits of the Communist leaders, Joseph Stalin (USSR, right) and Matias Rakosy (Hungary), typical entourage of the era. One might think that after watching from the wall so many split snatches and cleans in the competition, both could have become super experts on weightlifting techniques. Highly doubtful, though.




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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Miracle of Nature in Moscow (1955)


History in Color

June 16, 1955, Moscow, Russia – Legendary Paul Anderson of Team USA, nicknamed  as “Miracle of Nature” for his phenomenal strength, is competing for USA during the USA vs. USSR Olympic weightlifting match in the Green Theater in Moscow.


Anderson’s opponent in the match in the 90+kg class was Alexey Medvedev of Team USSR:


90+ kg 6/15/1955 1 Paul ANDERSON 517.5 182.5+142.5+192.5
90+ kg 6/15/1955 2 Alexey MEDVEDEV 452.5 147.5+135+170

It was the first ever visit of the American sports teams to Russia during the Cold War time. It was a common routine back then that the foreign nationals were followed and observed by the Soviet secret police. In 1955, for a different reason, thousands of Russian spectators were following Paul Anderson in Moscow to get a glimpse of the Miracle of Nature, the strongest men they’ve ever seen!

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Remembering Yurik Vardanyan: The Night of 5 World Records


History in Color:


July 30, 1979, Leningrad, Russia – Legend Yurik Vardanyan of Team USSR and Leninakan (Gyumri), Armenia celebrates winning the tournament and setting 5 world records in the 82.5kg class at the 1979 USSR Spartakiade and Championships in Leningrad.


Yurik won the tournament with the total of 390kg (175.5+215). He set 5 world records on his way:



  1. Snatch 175.5kg

  2. Clean and Jerk 213kg

  3. Clean and Jerk 215kg

  4. Total 387.5kg

  5. Total 390kg