|Full name||Vasily Ivanovich Alekseyev|
7 January 1942|
Pokrovo-Shishkino, Ryazan Oblast, Russia
|Died||25 November 2011
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||160 kg (350 lb)|
|Event(s)||+ 110 kg|
|Club||Trud Rostov oblast
Vasily Ivanovich Alekseyev (Russian: Василий Иванович Алексеев; 7 January 1942 – 25 November 2011) was a Soviet weightlifter. He set 80 world records and 81 Soviet records in weightlifting and won gold medals at the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics.
At the age of 18, Alekseyev began practicing weightlifting at Trud Voluntary Sports Society, trained by his coach Rudolf Plyukfelder until 1968, when he began to train solo. He was not a naturally large man like other super heavyweights but was encouraged to gain strength by adding weight. In January 1970 Alekseyev set his first world record, and during the World Weightlifting Championship in Columbus, Ohio in 1970 he was the first man to clean and jerk 500 pounds (227 kg) in competition. During one of his early world records Oscar State OBE one of the finest administrators and supporters of the sport remarked that the weight of over 460 pounds (209 kg) in the Olympic press looked so easy it could have been a broomstick. This was the beginning of a series of 80 world records the weightlifter set between 1970 and 1977. He received bonus funds every time he set a world record by the Russian Federation; so he made it a point to gradually increase his world records by 1.1 pounds or 0.5 kg. He was unbeaten and held the World Championship and European Championship titles for those eight years. He was the first man to total over 600 kg in the triple event.
Many thought he would be the first to clean and jerk the mythical 600 pounds but it was never to be as his habit of increasing world records by only 1/2 kilo took so long that age caught up to him.
Alekseyev's performance in the Moscow Olympics of 1980 was a disappointment. He had by then become more of a recluse, training by himself without a coach. In the snatch he set his opening weight too high and was unable to lift it, scoring zero kilograms as the result. He retired from weightlifting after the Moscow Olympics.
In 1987, Alekseyev was elected to represent the Ryazan District for the Soviet Union's Congress of People's Deputies. Alekseyev worked as a coach between 1990 and 1992. Under his leadership, the Unified Team earned ten medals in weightlifting at the 1992 Summer Olympics, including five golds.
From 1966 Alekseyev lived in Shakhty, where in 1971 he graduated from the branch of the Novocherkassk Polytechnical Institute. He died on 25 November 2011 in Germany in a clinic where he had been sent for serious heart problems. He was 69. The Russian Weightlifting Federation reported his death and called him a "Soviet sports legend" and "one of the strongest people in the world". He was survived by wife Olimpiada and sons Sergey and Dmitry. Dmitry competed nationally in weightlifting, placing fourth at the 1988 Soviet weightlifting championships.
Legacy and awards
Alekseyev was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated 14 April 1975, titled "World's Strongest Man". In 1999, in Greece, Alekseyev was acknowledged as the best sportsman of the 20th century. He was also awarded: Order of Lenin (1972), Order of Friendship of Peoples, Order of the Badge of Honour (1970), and Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1972). In 1993 he was elected a member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
- Snatch: 190.0 kg (419 lbs) in 1977-09-01 in Podolsk;
- Clean and press: 236.5 kg (521 lbs) official world record until 1972;
- Clean and jerk: 256.0 kg (564 lbs) in 1977-11-01 in Moscow;
- Total: 645.0 kg (clean and press + snatch + clean and jerk), in 1972-04-15, in Tallinn, official world record until 1972;
- Total: 445.0 kg (snatch + clean and jerk) in Podolsk.
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