December 19th, 2018

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Phil Grippaldi (USA): Toronto, 1976


History in Color:

February 29, 1976, Toronto, Canada – 3x Olympian of Team U.S.A., Phil Grippaldi  competes in the middle heavyweight at the Pre-Olympic weightlifting meet  in West Toronto.




Phil Grippaldi (b. 1946) was one of the most talented and popular U.S. Olympic weightlifters in the 1970s.


He competed in the 90kg weight class and had an impressive look of a bodybuilder and strength of an Olympic weightlifter.


Grippaldi grew up in New Jersey. When he was a kid, he was introduced into bodybuilding routines by one of his neighbors. At 16, little Phil was 5’5″ and had a 19″ biceps.


Grippaldi’s coaches in weightlifting were Butch Toth of the Keasbey Eagles weightlifting club and Michael Huszka of the Magnificent Seven (legendary Team Hungary Weightlifting of 1960s)


Phil Grippaldi managed to win 6 titles at the USA National championships (1967, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977), won 3 Pan American Games (1967, 1971, 1975) and competed for Team USA Weightlifting at three Olympics. He took the 7th place in Mexico City in 1968 and the 4th place in Munich in 1972.


At the 1970 World Championship in Columbus, OH, Phil Grippaldi won the silver medal finishing secong after Vasily Kolotov of the USSR.

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50 Years Ago in Alma Ata: Vasily Alexeev (USSR)


50 years ago, on December 19-22, 1968, the 1968 USSR Team Championships tournament was held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. The winners were:



  • 1st place – Soviet Army Team,

  • 2nd place – Dynamo Team,

  • 3rd place – Burevestnik Team (colleges and universities)


The 1968 USSR Team Championships was one of the first tournaments covered by a young photographer Gogi Gurgenyan of Fergana, Uzbekistan. With his permission, we publish our color version of his black-and-white photos in our History in Color series.




History in Color:

December 22, 1968, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan – 26-year old super heavyweight Vasily Alexeev of Shakhy, Rostov region of Russia, competes in the 110+kg class at the 1968 USSR Team Championships in Alma Ata.


It was one of the first appearances of almost unknown at the time Vasily Alexeev on the top level national competitions. Future super heavyweight megastar is appearing here with the unusual for Alexeev beard and mustache. He is performing a snatch lift at the competition in Alma Ata in 1968.

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50 Years Ago in Alma Ata: Boris Selitsky (USSR)


50 years ago, on December 19-22, 1968, the 1968 USSR Team Championships tournament was held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. The winners were:



  • 1st place – Soviet Army Team,

  • 2nd place – Dynamo Team,

  • 3rd place – Burevestnik Team (colleges and universities)


The 1968 USSR Team Championships was one of the first tournaments covered by a young photographer Gogi Gurgenyan of Fergana, Uzbekistan. With his permission, we publish our color version of his black-and-white photos in our History in Color series.




History in Color:

December 21, 1968, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan – Olympic champion of Mexico City (1968) Boris Selitsky of Leningrad, Russia, competes for the Lokomotiv Team in the 82.5kg class at the 1968 USSR Team Championships in Alma Ata.

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50 Years Ago in Alma Ata: Alexander Dzhedzhelava (USSR)


50 years ago, on December 19-22, 1968, the 1968 USSR Team Championships tournament was held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. The winners were:



  • 1st place – Soviet Army Team,

  • 2nd place – Dynamo Team,

  • 3rd place – Burevestnik Team (colleges and universities)


The 1968 USSR Team Championships was one of the first tournaments covered by a young photographer Gogi Gurgenyan of Fergana, Uzbekistan. With his permission, we publish our color version of his black-and-white photos in our History in Color series.




History in Color:

December 22, 1968, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan – World record holder and outstanding heavyweight contender, Alexander Dzhedzhelava of Tbilisi, Georgia, competes in the 110kg class at the 1968 USSR Team Championships in Alma Ata.


Alexander Dzhedzhelava (born in 1940) was one of the top stars of Georgian Olympic weightlifting of the 1960s. He competed in the heavyweight class for the Kolmeurne Club of Georgia.


Dzhedzhelava was a world record setter in the heavyweight class. He was a bronze medalist of the 1967 USSR Spartakiade and won numerous medals for Team Georgia at the USSR Championships including his vice championship title in 1966 and bronze medals in 1965 and 1967.


Alexander Dzhedzhelava was a member of the international Club 500 with his best total of 540kg (183+160+197.5) in 1970.

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50 Years Ago in Alma Ata: Erkin Karimov (Uzbekistan, USSR)


50 years ago, on December 19-22, 1968, the 1968 USSR Team Championships tournament was held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. The winners were:



  • 1st place – Soviet Army Team,

  • 2nd place – Dynamo Team,

  • 3rd place – Burevestnik Team (colleges and universities)


The 1968 USSR Team Championships was one of the first tournaments covered by a young photographer Gogi Gurgenyan of Fergana, Uzbekistan. With his permission, we publish our color version of his black-and-white photos in our History in Color series.




History in Color:

December 19, 1968, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan – Brilliant Soviet featherweight, world record holder, Erkin Karimov of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, competes for the Burevestnik Team in the 60kg class at the 1968 USSR Team Championships in Alma Ata.


Erkin Karimov (b. 1942) was one of the athletes that belonged to the so called “unsung heroes” of Olympic weightlifting in the USSR. He was one of the best weightlifters in the USSR in the 60kg class in the late 1960s – early 1970s but had no significant exposure to the international tournaments.


Karimov competed for the Burevestnik Club of Tashkent, Uzbekistan and won medals at 5 Soviet nationals. It included winning gold medals in 1967 and 1968.


In 1971, Karimov won the USSR Cup and gold medals in all three lifts – the press, the snatch and the clean-and-jerk.