Because of its
muscle mass requirements, world-class lifting was thought to be immune to the
sort of teenage onslaught seen over the last decade or so in other sports, but
Suleimanov is only the most startling example of a current downward trend in
the ages of the world's leading lifters. In 1975, only two of the best 300 were
under 20, whereas now the figure is closer to 25.
however, did prevail in Moscow this year, including Yurik Vardanian, 27, who
was followed from his home in Armenia by enough fans to fill six Aeroflot jets.
Vardanian, a four-time world champion who late in 1981 had suffered serious
back and leg injuries, made the trip worthwhile—and also confounded the
experts—by winning his fifth world title, this time in the 181-pound class.
display was given by Viacheslav Klokov, a 24-year-old physical education
student. Lifting in the 242-pound class, he set four world records, the most
outstanding his majestic final clean and jerk of 545 pounds, more than 300 over
his own bodyweight.
superheavyweight competition, the Soviets have moved all the records well past
those that had been set by the old, enormous and still beloved master, Vasily
Alexeyev. And these modern-day superheavyweights are in the 270-pound range,
not the 360 or so that Alexeyev weighed. With six men who had broken at least
one of the world superheavyweight records within the year, the Soviet coaching
staff led by 4'11" Alexander Preleppin, was in a no-lose position. Even so
the USSR chose well to name to the team Anatoli Pisarenko and his only recent
conqueror in major competition Alexander Kurlovich, who defeated the Bull of
Kiev earlier this year at the Spartakiad.
Pisarenko, 27, got sweet revenge by outsnatching his 22-year-old rival and
establishing a world record of 455 pounds. The 273-pound Pisarenko went on to
beat the 273�-pound Kurlovich in the total.
competition. Pisarenko answered a Soviet journalist who asked if it was
bothersome to have the smaller men lilt proportionately so much more by saying
that although a gnat's strength was indeed fascinating, people's true interest
still lay in elephants.
Virtually all the
sport's elephants, and the other weight classes, too, reside in the U.S.S.R.,
and the U.S. is no more annoying to them than a gnat.