March 20th, 2019

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Casually Fabulous Norb Schemansky

When you work on old weightlifting pictures, at certain point, it becomes like a game.

Have I been here before? Have I seen this photo before? Have I done this photo already in the History in Color ?

Then, the layer of identification issues comes to play. What meet is it? What year? Where was it held? What is the weight loaded? What are the colors of the plates?  Do I have protocols for this?..

It’s like a game – very addictive and time consuming.

Do I really have time for this?

With Norbert Schemansky, it’s easier.

He was always fabulous. He was Mr. Weightlifting.

Here it goes – casually fabulous Norbert Schemansky (USA) at one of the local meets in the mid 1960s.


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Paul Anderson (USA): Melbourne, 1956

History in Color:

November 26, 1956, Melbourne, Australia – The strongest man in the world of the 1950s, heavyweight Paul Anderson of Team USA is on his way to the gold Olympic medal in the 90+kg class at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

Paul Anderson, also known as “Miracle of Nature”, was a heavy favorite to win gold in Melbourne. He owned heavyweight world records that were not expected to be beaten soon. He was super strong and everybody expected him to be crowned as an Olympic champion at the 1956 Olympics.

Ironically, it was the hardest win in his career. Anderson was sick and had a fever that night in Melbourne. He was tracing Humberto Selvetti of Argentina all night during the Olympic competition.

Anderson owned a huge world record for the time in the press (185.5kg). However, in the press competition, Anderson lifted only 167.5kg and ended with 7.5kg behind Selvetti. In the snatch, both finished with 145kg kg and all was decided in the clean-and-jerk.

Humberto Selvett began the cj program with 170kg, then jerked 180kg and, in his third attempt, failed with 185kg.  Anderson had a 196.5kg world record in clean-and-jerk. He played a waiting game and started with 187.5kg that would have equalized him in the total with his opponent. He failed in the first attempt and then… failed again. It was totally unpredictable. It began to look like the Miracle of Nature was about to do another miracle by… losing to a weaker opponent.

In the third attempt, Paul Anderson managed to jerk 187.5kg and tied with Humberto Selvetti with 500kg in total. He was awarded the gold because he was lighter than Selvetti by 5.6kg.

It was a nerve-breaking competition and, in the end, the Legend got it. Paul Anderson became an Olympic champion!



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Team Moscow Champs in Voronezh (1949)

History in Color:

May 18, 1949, Voronezh, Russia –Weightlifting Team Moscow wins the top national award for the 1st place in the teams’ competition at the 1949 USSR Championships on the stage of Music Comedy Theater in Voronezh (left to right):

Team Captain Grigory Novak (Soviet Wings, Moscow, 82.5kg), Alexey Medvedev (Soviet Wings, Moscow, 82.5+kg), Vladimir Pushkarev (Dynamo, Moscow, 75kg), Israil Mekhanik (Lokomotiv, Moscow, 67.5kg),  Yevgeny Lopatin (Dynamo, Moscow, 60kg) and Mitrofan Kosarev (Stroitel, Moscow, 56kg)

The 1949 USSR Championships was the 24th national competition in the country. It gathered 162 Olympic weightlifters in 6 weight classes. The medalists for the teams’ competitions were

  1. Moscow

  2. Ukraine

  3. Moscow-2