October 15th, 2019

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Back in the USSR: Top Athletes Before the 1980 Olympics

History in Color:

An interesting group photo of the top Soviet Olympic weightlifters and coaches from the family archives of Vasily Denisov, who was one of the Team USSR top candidates in the 75kg weight class to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The exact time and location where the black-and-white original was taken is unknown.

Based on the personalities in the photo, the cloths they wear, my guess is that it is the 1979 USSR Cup in Frunze (please correct me or provide me with more info on the photo date and location if avaiable). Here is my take on who participated in that photo session:

1st (front) row:

Yevgeny Rysin (Team Unions, head coach), Logutov, Semyon Itkin (personal coach of K. Osmonaliev) , Vladimir Kaplunov (Army, head coach), x, Alexander Voronin (52kg, Kemerovo, Russia), Lobodaev (Team USSR, doctor).

2nd row:

Alexey Ivanov (Russian Federation, head coach), Valery Shary (90kg, Minsk, Belarus), Vadim Avzhyan (82.5kg, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Nikolay Kolesnikov (60kg, Shakty, Russia), x, Alexander Pervy (75kg, Donetsk, Uktaine), Leonid Taranenko (110kg, Minsk, Belarus), Kanybek Osmonaliev (52kg, Frunze, Kirgizia), David Rigert (100kg, Shakhty, Russia)

3rd row:

Sergey Arakelov (100kg, Krasnodar, Russia), Vasily Denisov (75kg, Perm, Russia), Gennady Bessonov (90kg, Shakhty, Russia), Viktor Okorokov (110+kg, Smolensk, Russia), Victor Mazin (60kg, Shakhtinsk, Kazakhstan), Yury Zaytsev (110kg, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine)

4th row:

x, Igor Kudyukov (Team USSR, head coach), Gagik Arutyunyan (110kg, Yerevan, Armenia), Vartan Militosyan (75kg, Leninakan, Armenia), Robert Oganesyan (110kg, Yerevan, Armenia), x

5th (back) row:

Gennady Baldin (Team USSR, massage therapist), x, x, Viktor Shuba (67.5kg, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Papikyan (?, Armenia), Yurik Vardanyan (82.5kg, Leninakan, Armenia), Starikov (Team Dynamo, head coach).