December 30th, 2018

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Weightlifting 3.0: Stefan Topurov (Bulgaria)

The History in Color features a color version of the photo of legendary Bulgarian Olympic weightlifter Stefan Topurov.

At 19, featherweight Stefan Topurov of Asenovgrad, Bulgaria launched a new era in Olympic weightlifting – Weightlifting 3.0, so to speak.

It happened on October 24, 1983 when Stefan clean-and-jerked 180kg in the 60kg class at the at the 1983 World Championships and became the first man in the world to lift 3x bodyweights.

The next year, Stefan Topurov also lifted 182.5 and 185 kg at the 1984 Druzhba Cup in Varna Bulgaria.

Club 3x Body Weight Lifters

Athlete Nat. Class CJ Lift Date, Location
1. Stefan Topurov Featherweight, 60KG 185.0KG 1984, Varna, Bulgaria
2. Neno TERZIYSKI Bantamweight, 56KG 171.0KG 1987, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia
3. Naim SULEYMANOGLU Featherweight, 60KG 190.0KG 1988, Seoul, South Korea
4. Angel GENCHEV Lightweight, 67.5KG 202.5KG 1988, Seoul, South Korea
5. Halil MUTLU Bantamweight, 56KG 168.0KG 2001, Trencin, Slovakia
6. Yun-Chol Om Bantamweight, 56KG 168.0KG 2012, London, United Kingdom


Stefan Topurov (Bulgaria) was the first man in the history of Olympic weightlifting to lift 3 times bodyweight. It happend at the WC-1983 in Moscow where Topurov cj’d 180 kg in the 60 kg weightclass. Later he also liffted 182.5 and 185 kg at the Druzhba Cup in Varna Bulgaria.

Naim Sulemanolglu cj’d legendary 190 kg competing the 60 kg weightclass at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Needless to say, it wasn’t the first time when he lifted 3 times his bodyweight. First time he did it competing for Bulgaria when he lifted as Naim Suleymanov.

Naim lifted 3x his bodyweight on numerous occasions:

In the bantamweight (56KG)

  • 1984 Vitoria, Australia – 168

  • 1984 Varna, Bulgaria – 170 and 170.5

  • 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia – 172.5 and 173

In the featherweight (60KG)

  • 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia – 185.5

  • 1985 Monte Carlo, Monaco – 186

  • 1986 Karl-Marx-Stadt, East Germany – 187.5

  • 1986 Sofia, Bulgaria – 188

  • 1988 Seoul, South Korea – 188.5 and 190

No wonder, tiny and mighty Naim was nichnamed as “Pocket Hercules” by mass media. In 2001, his fellow Turkish athlete Halil Mutly also joined the club, when he succeded with the 168 kg clean-and-jerk at the European Championship in Trencin, Slovakia.

Competing at the 1988 Olympics, Angel Genchev cj’d a fantastic weight of 202.5 kg. He was the 4th man in the world to lift 3 times his body weight and he did it in the lightweight class (67.5 KG). However, later it was announced that he was disqualifies because of the usage of performance enhancing substance (furocemide).

And, finally, there is Yun-Chol Om from North Korea who lifted 168 kg for the gold in London, UK in the 56 kg weight category.

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Trumphant Team USA in 1947

History in Color:

The Strength and Health magazine called them the triumphant 1947 World team. They were triumphant, indeed, at the first official World Championships held in the United States (left to right):

Front row:

Emerich Ishikawa (York Barbell Club, York, PA, 60kg, bronze), Bobby Higgins (Indianapolis, IN, 60kg, gold), Joe DiPietro (Yaco’s Gym, Detroit, MI, 56kg, gold), Richard Tom (Nuuanu YMCA, Honolulu, HI, 56kg, silver);

Mid Row:

Tony Terlazzo (York Barbell Club, York, PA), Frank Spellman (York Barbell Club, York, PA, 75kg, silver), Peter George (A.C.M.W.L. Akron, OH, 67.5kg, gold), John Terpak (York Barbell Club, York, PA, 82.5kg, gold);

Back row:

John Davis (York Barbell Club, York, PA, 82.5+kg, gold), Norb Schemansky (Yaco’s Gym, Detroit, MI, 82.5+kg, silver), Stan Stanczyk (York Barbell Club, York, PA, 75kg, gold), Harold Sakata (Nuuanu YMCA, Honolulu, HI, 82.5kg, 4th place).


1947 World Championship
Location: Philadelphia, USAGOLD MEDALISTS
Weight Class Name Total (kg)
56 Bantamweight Joseph DI PIETRO, United States 102.5+87.5WR+110 = 300WR
60 Featherweight Robert HIGGINS, United States 105+90+115 = 310
67.5 Lightweight Peter GEORGE, United States 97.5+110+145 = 352.5
75 Middleweight Stanley STANCZYK, United States 117.5+127.5WR+160 = 405WR
82.5 Light Heavyweight John TERPAK, United States 115+120+152.5 = 387.5
82.5+ Super Heavyweight John DAVIS, United States 140+140WR+175WR = 455WR

Note: To view a complete list of the winners in the weight classes above,

please follow the link associated with the weight class.