February 5th, 2019

close up

Adam Gnatov: World Record at the USSR Spartakiade in 1971

History in Color :

July 16, 1971, Moscow, USSR – Adam Gnatov, flyweight of the Lokomotiv Club, Lvov sets a new world record in the press lift (115kg) in the 52kg class at the 1971 USSR Spartakiade and 1971 USSR Championships at the Red Army (CSKA) Weightlifting Hall in Moscow. He won gold medals at both tournaments with a 327.5kg total ( 115+87.5+125)

Adam Gnatov (born in 1944) competed in the 52kg weight class. He was a vice champion of the 1972 European Championships in Romania.

On the national level, Gnatov won the gold at the USSR Championship (1971) and the USSR Spartakiade (1971). He was on of the national top flyweight contenders for almost 2 decades and earned medals at 8 USSR Championships. Adam Gnatov was a 3x USSR Cup Winner (1970, 1971, 1972) and won USSR gold medals in press (1970,  1971) and in clean and jerk (1971, 1972, 1974, 1975) .

He authored 14 World and USSR records in the flyweight category.

Out of these 14 world records, one will never be broken. It’s the 120.5kg press record set in 1972 right before the press lift was eliminated from the official program by the IWF.

Needless to note that Adam Gnatov literally owned the record book for the press lift in the 52kg weight class. He set the first world record in the book in 1969 (102.5kg). And he closed the book in 1972 when he pressed 120.5kg.


close up

Norb Schemansky Wins the 1952 Olympics In Helsinki

History in Color :

July 27, 1952, Helsinki, Finland – 28-year old mid heavyweight Norbert Schemansky of Detroit just won an Olympic gold in the 90kg weight class at the 1952 Summer Olympics in the Messuhalli (Exhibition Hall). He did it with a huge bang in his last attempt when he set a new world record in the clean-and-jerk (177.5kg). His team joined him to share a joy of the moment and to celebrate a big win:

Left to right:

XXX (team trainer/massage therapist – ?), Clarence Johnson (manager), Bob Hoffman (team coach),  Norbert Schemansky (90kg contestant), Dietrich Wortmann (manager)

Norbert Schemansky won his gold medal with an outstanding 445kg total (127.5 + 140+ 177.5). He set 3 world records than night and outlifted his main opponent Grigory Novak of the USSR by 35kg!

Grigory Novak was the first Soviet World champion ever. Not just in weightlifting – in all sports. He had a phenomenal press lift. Authors still write historical and scientific papers about his press lifting.

Despite this, the weightlifting champions were being determined by the total of three lifts and Novak stopped progressing in the other two lifts of the program at some point of his career. Why would he bother working on those if he had such a cosmic set of results in the press? It was enough to win against any opponents at the time.

Obviously, it was a mistake. 28-year old Norb Schemansky of Detroit, MI caught Novak exactly on this mistaken assumption that Novak’s superb pressing would guarantee him a gold Olympic medal.

Schemansky had a great performance in Helsinki – he did 9 for 9 that night! He also did two additional lifts for the world records in the snatch and clean-and-jerk. On the other hand, Novak lifted 3 for 9 which was obviously a very poor tactical score.