Weightlifting news and views

News and Views of Weightlifting 1

News and Views of Weightlifting 1

This section of Sportivnypress.com will be devoted to review of weightlifting news whether it be suitable, or otherwise, noteworthy online or print content.

The first review of this section will be select articles from the Russian magazine “Olimp”, issue 2-3, 2012. This magazine is the brain child of publisher Vladimir Saltykov. A merited coach whose student was international master of sport Juri Mishkovyets. Vladimir’s purpose was to fill the void left when the Russian Federation was unable to continue publishing the Weightlifting Yearbooks (Tiiazhelaya Atletika Yezhegodnik).


Cover of 1973 Russian Weightlifting Yearbook.

1974 YB

Cover of 1974 Russian Weightlifting Yearbook.

The first yearbook was published in 1971; the 1972 version is all but impossible to find in the original; the last in 1986. As most of the 1986 version was devoted to kettle – bell sport, there was not much of interest to the weightlifting purist. The size and content of these weightlifting gems reflected the monetary fortunes of Soviet weightlifting. The dimensions of the 1973 – 75 versions were approximately 8.5 x 11 inches. By the time the money for publishing the books was drying up, the 1986 version was about half that size. A magnifying glass would have been needed to read the print had the texts been shrunk any further.

The purpose of the yearbooks were help the coaches and athletes stay abreast of the latest research of weightlifting technique, restoration, planning training; weightlifting results, evaluation of the Soviet National team’s performance for the previous year and so forth.

Thanks to Vladimir Saltykov this tradition continues with Olimp. Some of the old Russians contribute technical articles to Olimp along with a new group of young sport scientists.

The 2-3, 2012 issue of Olimp contained several retrospective articles of the 2012 London Olympics. For the most part the articles dealt with the problems the Russian team experienced: three athletes on the original start list were no shows due to injury: Klokov, Akayev, Slivenko. Another, had to have meniscus surgery upon returning from London.

The Russian team won a total of six medals of which zero were gold. Considering the long preeminence of the Soviet Union in the international weightlifting arena, this performance was dismal. Both national team coaches (men and women’s)  were dismissed in the wake of this, for the Russians, sub-par showing.

The tale of the tape so to speak, of Russian Olympic medal production from 2000 – 2012 presented below is from V. Saltykov’s article (1).

Table 1. Gold medal production of Russian weightlifters at the Olympics 2000 – 2012. V. Saltykov, 2012

Medals 2000 2000 2004 2004 2008 2008 2012 2012
Fem Male Fem Male Fem Male Fem Male
Gold 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Silver 1 0 1 1 2 2 3 2
Bronze 0 2 2 3 1 1 0 1
Total 1 2 3 5 3 3 3 3

The two things about this data which jump out are the fact that the Russians have won only a single gold medal from 2000 – 2012. The lone gold medal was in the 105 kg class. The Russian women have yet to win a gold. Over this same period China’s women have won 14 gold, the men nine and even Iran has won four times as many gold as Russia.

Touching on the general theme of this issue, Saltykov and others asked why were so many of the team injured; even silver medalist Tsarukayeva needed  knee surgery (meniscus) on her return from London.

The seriousness of the issue was even underscored in remarks by Vladamir Putin that you can see which areas of the Olympic group achieved excellence while others had a little success and for others (weightlifting included) the results were clearly unsatisfactory.

If you were to compare this situation with the American performance in London where one athlete performed lower than the lone lifter from civil war torn Syria; another is now suspended for PEDs and the third, claiming injury,  lifted 15 kg less in London than at the Olympic trials 5 months before the games. Everyone had a good time in London; there many tweets and so forth; but, no heads rolled.

Saltykov went on to say the new coaches need to heed the lessons from London, select a team of sport science specialists with specific skills and use modern technology to achieve their goals for the next Olympics.

This was common theme expressed by some of the others who submitted articles. Tarasenko’s article touched on the need for research with modern video analysis equipment such as cameras capable of recording at speeds of 500 – 10000 frames per second. The data obtained for today’s technique protocols dates back to video cameras filming at 24 – 25 frames per second. He noted that this does not necessarily mean the ideas are wrong; but lifters may be doing things today which were not observed in the past. He also mentioned the need for specialized sport doctors, better education for coaches, working with children and so forth. In closing, he noted:

“If you want to win in sport you need to finance education and science and stop relying on the magic of tablets and unrealizable prognostications”.

The Khairullin article basically asserted the rise in the injury rate had to do with insufficient warm up. This was a Russian response to our article in the weightlifting sport science section about the warm up protocols at the international level. The author basically recommends a lot of small weight partial movements such as pull, jumps, press behind neck from low squat, good mornings; all this with a  standard amount of full lifts in the ≥90% lifts, i.e., minimal practice of the actual competition coordination structure.

Table two lists the results and placing of the Russian team at the 2004 Olympics. Of the these athletes who participated in Athens, Perepechenov had to return his medal when his sample from this competition was re – tested in 2012 and found to be positive by means of the newer technology available. The gold medalist, whom has numerous recent videos of himself pressing 150 kg in speedos, snatching 190 kg or deadlifting huge weights, recently scratched from the 2014 Russian nationals. It seems to us this was the very same guy who struggled to press 50 kg in the training hall of the 2011 European Championships in Kazan. See Tarasenko’s comments above about “the magic of tablets”.

Table 2. Russian team members and results from 2004 Olympics (Charniga, 2014)

Athlete Yr/OG Wt.Cl Sn Jerk Total Pl
Perepechen O. 2004 77 170 195 365 3rd
Takhushev Z 2004 85
Akayev K 2004 94 185 220 405  2nd
Tjukin E 2004 94 182.5 215 397.5 3rd
Berestsov D 2004 105 195 230 425 1st
Pisarevsky G 2004 105 190 225 415 3rd
Kasayeva Z 2004 69 117.5 145 262.5 3rd
Popova V 2004 75 120 145 265 3rd
Zabolotnaya 2004 75 125 147.5 272.5 2nd

By the 2008 Olympics, of the two male Russians who returned to the games, Perpechenov dropped to fifth; Akayev to 3rd. None of the three women who were on the team in Athens returned. It has been documented in A De-masculinization of Strength and on Sportivnypress.com, the four Russian females of the 2008 team suffered a collective swoon from their best results in Beijing.

At the 2012 Olympic Games three Russians on the original start list scratched. The female Slivenko (from the 2008 team) was replaced in time by Zabolotnaya. Klokov and Akayev, holdovers from the 2008 team, scratched, but were not replaced; those slots were lost. Akayev needed back surgery and has not yet returned to competition. Of the four Russian females from 2008, as indicated, Slivenko scratched; Shainova is on the IWF suspension list, Tsarukayeva needed surgery after the games and Yevshtukhina, who can be seen in online video, push-pressing 150 kg from behind the neck with a snatch hand spacing, was unable to fix a 125 kg snatch in London.

To contrast the Russian fortunes with those of Chinese for a moment, the two female Chinese gold medalists at the Athens Olympics in 2004, LIU Chunhong (69 kg) and CHEN Yanqing (58); returned for the 2008 games, where both won gold medals. Gold medalist at the 2004 Athens games Zhi Zhiyong was the only returning male Chinese in Beijing; he did not make a total.

LU Yong pulling 2

2008 Olympic champion LU Yong (CHN) was unable to make a total in London. Charniga photo

The Chinese won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The women won four of these gold. Of the ten members of the 2008 Chinese Olympic team, only one returned to the Games in London: gold medalist LU Yong. He failed to make a total.

So, there was a 90% turnover in Chinese Olympic weightlifting personnel returning from 2008 to 2012; a 100% failure rate for a repeat of even one medal, by the same lifter. Yet, with nine new people, the Chinese were still able to win five gold and two silver to the Russian two silver and one bronze medal in London.


2004 and 2008 Olympic champion LIU Chunhong (CHN) was unable to make the Chinese team for London.

Perhaps the single most informative article published in this issue of Olimp was the one about the training of the Kazakhstan team. This article is published (with permission of Olimp) in the translations section of sportivnypress.com.

The main author is Ivan Sivokhin; a Russian who worked under Alexander Lukhashev at the same institute of sport where Alexei Medvedyev and Yuri Verkhoshansky worked. He stated: “Essentially, weightlifting results are determined by the effectiveness of the athlete’s technique in the competition exercises”. This idea is right from the “horse’s mouth” of his mentor Lukashev. The Kazak training system appears to be right out of the Bulgarian training book, but, the underlying logic is pure Russian.

Both the Russians and Chinese have their own training methods. They both have the same system; which is they reward their champions well for their achievements. However, when all is said and done, the guys with a lot of bodies are the ones who come out on top; because on the surface at least, their training methods chew up a lot good athletes.   

1/ Saltykov, V., The 2012 Olympiade: Olimp:4-13:2-3:2012
2/ Tarase2004nko, V., “Afterthoughts about the 2012 Olympic Games”, Olimp, 49 – 50:2-3:2012
3/ Dirksen, G., “Personal Opinions”, Olimp, 51:2-3:2012
4/ Khairullin, R., The vicious cycle “Injury – the way to the exit

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