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Yuri Vlasov celebrates 81st birthday

Arnold Schwarzenegger sent him an autographed photograph after their 1988 meeting in Moscow and signed it „To my Idol, Yuri Vlasov”.  The Soviet Union Post commemorated his 1960 victory at the Olympic Games in Rome on a special stamp – only to mention two moments in the life of one of the greatest and most popular Soviet weightlifters, Yuri Petrovich Vlasov, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, on December 5th.

Born in Makiivka, Ukraine, Vlasov became an Olympic gold medallist in the category  +90kg 56 years ago. Four years later, in the 1964 Tokyo Games he finished as a silver medallist behind Leonid Zhabotinsky, another Soviet star. In both Olympic Games he was the flag bearer of the USSR delegation.

He triumphed four times in the annual World Championships in heavyweight: 1959, 1961, 1962 and 1963. In the European Championships he could stand right at the top of the podium six times and set up altogether 34 world records.

A proof of his exceptional qualities: between 1959 to 1963 he won all the competitions he entered. By the way, he was the first weightlifter to clean & jerk 200 kilos and more.

After retiring as a competitor in 1968, he became famous as a writer and a politician.

Happy Birthday, Yuri Vlasov!