Weightlifting is an impeccable sport. Do you know the top 6 men weightlifters of all time? It takes power, coordination, timing, and technique to excel at weightlifting. Most people don’t realize it, but weightlifters must go through grueling training to become noteworthy. Being able to pick a barbell off the floor and lift it above your head is one thing. Being able to pick up a weight most people can’t even deadlift and lift it over your head is truly impressive.
Over the years, weightlifting has seen some fantastic and freakishly strong competitors. Today, we’ll go over the six most powerful weightlifters of all time. In no particular order, here are the top 6 men weightlifters of all time are:
1. Naim Süleymanoğlu
Naim Süleymanoğlu is one of the most impressive weightlifters and athletes in the world. He was nicknamed the ‘pocket Hercules’ for his small stature – a height of 4’10” (147 cm) and a bodyweight of 136 pounds (62 kilos).
But despite his size, Naim shattered our perception of what’s possible. He is the only lifter ever to snatch 2.5 times his body weight – a staggering 336 pounds (152.5 kilos). At 132 pounds (60 kilos), he clean and jerked 418 pounds (190 kilos) at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Naim set 46 records during his active weightlifting career and was introduced to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 2004.
A lesson we can learn from Naim is that no matter our perceived physical limitations, hard work and determination can help us become impressive athletes.
2. Liao Hui
China is home to some of the most impressive athletes globally, and Liao Hui is a prime example.
At just 21 years old, Liao Hui won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games by snatching 348 pounds (158 kilos) and clean and jerking 418 pounds (190 kilos).
The following year, he won the gold medal in the World Weightlifting Championship by snatching 352 pounds (160 kilos) and clean & jerking 410 pounds (186 kilos).
In 2014, Hui won the gold again by snatching a whopping 366 pounds (166 kilos) and clean & jerking 425 pounds (193 kilos).
What we can learn from Liao Hui is that perseverance pays off. Despite his 2010 disqualification, Liao went back and won two more world titles.
3. Vasily Alekseyev
Vasily is another top 6 men weightlifters of all time and a legend in Russian weightlifting. He set a total of 81 Soviet records and 80 world records during his weightlifting career.
Vasily won the gold medal in the Olympic games twice in a row – in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics and the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. In 1993, Vasily was introduced to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame. Alekseyev was also titled the best sportsman of the century in 1999.
His best snatch is 418 pounds (190 kilos), and his best clean and jerk is 564 pounds (256 kilos), both set in 1977. A lesson we can all learn from Vasily is about perseverance and determination. In his words:
“If I want something. I will definitely achieve it. No matter what, I have to sacrifice. The more complex the situation, the more threatening my rivals, the more I spread my wings in defiance of everything.”
4. Pyrros Dimas
Pyrros is a Greek Olympic weightlifter who won three Olympic gold medals back-to-back from 1992 to 2000. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Dimas suffered from a knee injury but still managed to win a bronze medal. He also won three gold medals in the World weightlifting games in 1993, 1995, and 1998.
After winning the bronze medal, Pyrros left his shoes on the weightlifting podium, thus saying farewell to Olympic weightlifting. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.
His best lifts are a 398-pound snatch (180.5 kilos) and a 474-pound clean and jerk (215 kilos).
Having won his third consecutive gold medal in the Olympic games, Pyrros showed the world his impeccable lifting ability and demonstrated how powerful persistence is. What we can learn from him is that being persistent in our pursuits is fundamental for success.
5. Hossein Rezazadeh
Hossein Rezazadeh is an Iranian weightlifter and one of the most accomplished competitors in the sport. In 2004, he set the world record in the clean and jerk with an impressive 581-pound (263.5 kilos) lift.
He also held the world record for a staggering 1041 pounds (472.5 kilos), which he achieved in 2000 at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Four years later, he won the gold in the Athens Olympic Games by performing the same total.
As a whole, Hossein holds two Olympic titles, four world championship titles, and five gold medals in Asian games and championships.
More than anything, Hossein teaches us to bet on ourselves and tackle our competition with everything we have, no matter what people say.
6. Yurik Vardanyan
Yurik Vardanyan is another top 6 men weightlifter of all time and one of the most impressive lifters ever to step on the weightlifting platform. He began weight training at the age of 14 and quickly mastered the snatch and clean and jerk.
Despite not being the biggest teenager out there (weighing a mere 130 pounds when he started), Yurik made incredible progress in the following six years. He landed his first major competition – the 1977 USSR national championship.
At the time, winning the national championship was incredibly challenging, even more than winning a European or world title. With no backing and at a mere 160 pounds, Yurik won the competition in the 165-pound class.
In 1980, at just 23, Yurik won the 1980 Summer Olympics gold medal. At that event, Yurik became the first weightlifter to reach an 882-pound total (400 kilos) in the 181 pounds (82.5 kg) category.
He also won seven gold medals in the World Championship games throughout his career, five consecutive – from 1977 to 1981.
Five gold medals accompanied these achievements in the European Championships, four gold medals in the USSR Weightlifting Championships, and three golds in the Cups of the USSR.
Yurik became a member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 1994.
Despite his humble beginnings, Yurik became another top 6 men weightlifter of all time and one of the greatest weightlifters in history. We can learn from him that we should work hard and strive for greatness, no matter our starting point and what beliefs we might hold.