January 5th, 2019

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Eugene Katsura: World Championships in Budapest

History in Color:

September 17, 1962, Budapest, Hungary – 25-year rookie of Team CCCP, featherweight Eugene Katsura of Kazan, Russia wins a silver medal with a 110+107.5+140 = 357.5kg total in the 60kg class at the 1962 World Championships in Budapest.

Eugene Katsura (1937-1967) was a strong Soviet featherweight and lightweight athlete.

His forte was the Olympic press lift. In his career, he set 7 world records in press and 2 in total of 3 lifts.

Katsura won medals at the World Championships in 1962 (silver) and in 1966 (gold), at the European Championships in 1962 (silver), 1964 (gold), 1966 (gold). In 1961-1966, he consistently won gold and silver medals at the USSR Championships including gold medals in 1962, 1964 and 1966.

The life of Eugene Katsura had a sad and tragic ending. At the age of 29, former weightlifting champion committed a suicide while serving as an officer in the Soviet Army.

At the time, the details of his death were not covered in the Soviet media. The fact of the Soviet World champion wasn’t something to read about in the USSR. Only recently, some light was shed on the story about the last days of the champion.

After retiring from the sports, Katsura served as an officer in the Soviet Army and got engaged to the daughter of his commanding officer. Shortly before the wedding, they had an outdoor picnic.

Katsura was not a very experienced driver and forgot to use the emergency break when he parked his car up the hill. The young couple prepared the picnic setup right below the parking. Later, when the car started to move down, it ran over the bride and she was killed.

Realizing the consequences of the tragedy, Katsura shot himself.

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Bill March (USA)

History in Color:

October 16, 1964, Tokyo, Japan – Powerful middle heavyweight Bill March of Team USA, Russia competes in the 90kg class at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

March won the 4th place with 467.5kg (155+135+177.5) in total. It was the 3rd result that night but the bronze went to Ireneusz Palinski of Poland whose bodyweight was lighter.

William “Bill” Match (b. 1937) was a U.S. Olympian and a very strong Olympic weightlifter of the first half of the 1960s. He competed for the famous York Barbell Club of York, PA and was a significant  part of many projects by Bob Hoffman.

Bill March won 5 consecutive U.S. titles (1961-1965). On the international level, Bill March brought home a gold medal from the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo and a bronze medal in the 90kg class at the 1962 World Championships in Budapest.

Speaking of memorable pressers of the pre-1972 era in Olympic weightlifting, March most definitely was a terrific athlete in this department. He was a World record holder in the Olympic press lift.