September 17th, 2021

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Ivan Veselinov: 1959 World Championships in Warsaw

History in Color:

October 4, 1959, Warsaw, Poland – 33-year old heavyweight Ivan Veselinov competes for Team Bulgaria in the 90+kg weight class  at the 1959 World and European Championships in Warsaw.

By the end of the night, Veselinov finished with a 455kg (145+130+180) total and won a bronze medal at the Worlds and a silver medal at the European Championships

Ivan Veselinov (b. 1926-1996) of Asenovgrad, Bulgaria was one of the best and most revognized Bulgarian weightlifters of the post World War II generation. From 1950 to 1968, he won 16 Bulgarian Championships! Veselinov was the first Bulgarian athlete to join the top international 500 Club. His personal best was 505kg (170+140+195) total that he reached in 1965.

On the international arena, Veselinov was a 3x Olympian and represented Bulgaria at the Summer Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964. He was is a 3x bronze medalist of the World Championship (1958, 1959), 4x European silver medalist (1958-1959, 1965) and 4x European bronze medalist (1955, 1956, 1962, 1963).

By all means, Ivan Veselinov is a Bulgarian pride of oldtime classics. He was one of the leading lifters in his country that laid down the foundation for the rise of Bulgaria to a weightlifting power house of champions in the mid 1970s and for decades to come later in the history.

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Gunther Wu and Adam Gnatov (Lubeck, 1971)

History in Color:

August 1971, Travemunde, Germany – German heavyweight Gunther Wu of SV Phoenix Kassel and Soviet flyweight Adam Gnatov of Lokomotiv Lvov are flexing muscles during the 1971 Baltic Cup tournament in Lubeck, Germany.

In the early 1970s, Adam Gnatov knew no equals to himself in Olympic press lift in the 52kg class. The eternal press record by a 132-cm tall flyweight athlete was set at 120.5kg in 1972 and remains unbeaten today.