January 13th, 2019

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Dave Sheppard in Moscow (1955)

History in Color

June 1955, Moscow, Russia – Legendary U.S. middle heavyweight Dave Sheppard of NYC, New York is performing a clean-and-jerk lift at the open training session in Moscow during the historical visit for the USA vs. USSR Olympic weightlifting match in the Soviet Union.

It was the first ever visit of the American sports teams to Russia during the Cold War time. For generations to follow, there were so many stories and memories associated with the historic meet in Russia in 1955.

Obviously, Paul Anderson, “the Miracle of Nature”, stole the show. Thousands of Russian spectators were following Paul Anderson in Moscow to get a glimpse of the strongest man they’ve ever seen.

However, it was Dave Sheppard whom Bob Hoffman of the York Barbell called an unsung hero in his report about visiting Moscow. According to Hoffman, Dave was an real MVP of Team USA.

Historically, Sheppard was a very impressive and memorable athlete but, for various reasons, in the top international tournaments he seemed to be an eternal “vice champion”. At the 1955 USA vs. USSR match in the Russia, Sheppard in the 90kg class and faced very strong opponent in his micro-matches. He won all of them.

He outlifted Arkady Vorobyev by 7.5kg in Moscow and Fedor Osypa by 12.5kg in Leningrad:

Class Date Rank Athlete’s Name Total Lifts
90 kg 6/15/1955 1 David SHEPPARD 457.5 140+140+177.5
90 kg 6/15/1955 2 Arkady VOROBYEV 450 140+140+170
90 kg 6/18/1955 1 David SHEPPARD 450 142.5+135+175
90 kg 6/18/1955 2 Fedor OSYPA 447.5 140+135+170



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Vladimir Stogov (USSR): 1955 USSR vs. USA Match in Moscow

History in Color

June 16, 1955, Moscow, Russia – Legendary Soviet bantamweight Vladimir Stogov of Team USSR is competing against his long-term rival Chuck Vinci in the 56kg class at the USA vs. USSR Olympic weightlifting match in the Green Theater in Moscow.

Vladimir Stogov (1930-2005) was definitely one of the most memorable athletes of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Olympic vice champion in the bantamweight of the 1956 Summer Olympics, Stogov competed for the Red Army club in Moscow and was a 5x World champion, 6x European champion and 4x USSR champion. He authored 7 world records in his career.

The bantamweight rivalry between Vladimir Stogov of the USSR and Chuck Vinci of the USA is one of the all-time classics in the history of the Olympic weightlifting.



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Athletes and Coaches: Mark Cameron and Dick “Smitty” Smith

The History in Color series feature a color version of the photo with Mark Cameron, brilliant world class heavyweight of Team USA in the 1970s, and Dick Smith, more known as “Smitty”, popular coach of the York Barbell for over 5 decades. The estimated year when this photo was made is 1978-1979.

“Smitty was the best!” said Mark Cameron when I ran this photo by him.

Dick “Smitty” Smith (1925-2014) was involved in training for big win in the World and Olympic tournaments such legendary U.S. weightlifters as Bill March, Bob Bednarski, Joe Dube, Garry Gubner, Lee James and many more. As a coach and a manager for the Team USA Weightlifting, Smitty was a 6x U.S. Olympian and attended 6 Summer Olympics. During his 50 years with the York Barbell, Smitty worked with several generations of American weightlifting super stars.

Mark Cameron (b. 1952) was an outstanding U.S. heavyweight of the 1970s. He competed for the Central Falls Weightlifting Club (RI) and the York Barbell Club (PA). Cameron held the U.S. national title from 1975 to 1980. He was a U.S. Olympian in 1976 and 1980. On the international level, he was a champion of the 1979 Pan American Games, a vice champion of the 1975 Pan American Games and showed the 5th best total (375kg) at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.