December 12th, 2020

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Hans Zdrazila: Moscow, 1964

History in Color:

June 26, 1964, Moscow, Russia, USSR – Four months before winning an Olympic gold medal in the middleweight in Tokyo, Hans Zdrazila of Team Czechoslovakia wins a silver medal in the 75kg class at the 1964 European Championships in Moscow.

One of the strongest middleweight athletes in the world of the first half of the 1960s, Zdrazila took the second place at the 1964 European Championships with a 425kg total (127.5 + 130 + 167.5). It was 20kg less than the result of Viktor Kurentsov of Russia who won the gold medal in Moscow.

In October 1964, Hans Zdrazila added 20 kg to his to total and became an Olympic champion in the 75kg weight class.

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Snatch Lifting by Jaakko Kailajarvi of Finland (1966)

History in Color:

October 19, 1966, Berlin, East Germany – Legend of Finnish weightlifting, 4x Olympian Jaakko Kailajarvi of Tampere, Finland competes in the snatch program at the 1966 World and European Championships in East Berlin.

Jaakko Kailajarvi (born in 1941) is one of the key personalities in the history of Olympic weightlifting of Finland. On July 1, 1962, on the day of his 21st birthday, Jaakko authored the first world record ever set by a Finnish weightlifter. Jaakko Kailajarvi competed for his country at four Summer Olympics – in Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976).


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Club 500: Karl Pumpurins (Latvia, USSR)

History in Color:

Riga, Latvia, USSR, 1966 – Legendary Olympic weightlifting presser Karlis Pumpurins of the Dynamo Riga club is getting ready to start the lift at a local tournament in his hometown Riga.

July 23, 1971, Moscow, Russia – Heavyweight Karl Pumpurins of the Dynamo (Riga) club competes for Team Latvia in the 110kg weight class at the 1971 USSR Championships and Spartakiade at the CSKA Weightlifting Arena in Moscow. Famous for his impressive physique and world class press lifts, Pumpurins won the 5th place at the tournament with 540kg (195+145+200) total.

With the sunset of Olympic press lift in 1972, there was a definite change in the look-and-feel of Olympic weightlifting contenders at the major competitions. Many bulky “muscle machines” of the press era had to either re-adjust their gears for dynamic lifts only or even retire from the elite competitions.

There are different views on whether the press should have stayed or not but it’s very nostalgic to see the photos of magnificent and powerful pressers of the past. One of them was Karl Pumpurins who was famous for his impressive physique and mighty press lifts in the competitions.

Karlis Pumpurins (born in 1941) was one of the graduates of Michael Freifeld’s weightlifting club Dynamo in Riga.  Pumpurins wasn’t a poor technician overall but his weakest lift was the snatch and, by all means, his strongest lift was the Olympic press. In the late 1960s, he set 4 world records in the press in the 90kg weight class. Legendary Yury Vlasov used to call Karlis as “a real deal” of Olympic weightlifting.

Pumpurins went on to win two USSR Cups in 1970 in the 110kg class. He was the national champion of the USSR in the clean-and-jerk (1970) and press (1970).