August 21st, 2021

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Leonid Taranenko Wins His 1st National Title


History in Color:

August 2, 1979, Leningrad, Russia, USSR – 23-year old heavyweight Leonid Taranenko of Minsk, Belarus performs a snatch lift in the 110kg weight class at the 1979 USSR Spartakiade and USSR Championships in Leningrad.


The cover photo depicts Taranenko’s 2nd attempt in snatch at 177.5kg. By the end of the night, Leonid Taranenko won a gold medal with a 410kg (177.5+232.5) total. It was the first national title that he won is his remarkable career in Olympic weightlifting. The next year, he won the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in the heavyweight class with a total of 422.5kg (182.5+240).


On November 26, 1988, while competing in the super heavyweight class, Leonid Taranenko clean-and-jerked 266kg at the tournament in Canberra, Australia. This world record stays active today. As of now, no other athlete lifted more in the official competitions.

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Chen Jingkai: When China Went World Class Heavy in Weightlifting


On the History in Color photo, weightlifting legend Chen Jingkai (1935-2010) of China is performing a snatch lift at the tournament in 1950s. Legendary Chen competed in the bantam and featherweight and set 9 world records (all in clean-and-jerk).


He was the first weightlifting world record maker of China. It happened on June 7, 1956 when he cj’d 133kg in the 56kg class in Beijing.


With an outstanding performance of Chinese weightlifters recently at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, it might be a good time to bring into the spotlight magnificent pioneers of this sport in China. Two decades before China became an official member of the International Weightlifting Federation, early athletes of China like Chen Jingkai began to pave the road to current success of Chinese Olympic weightlifters.