:: 5/11/2010: Steve Wanvig, Burnsville MN, USA
I went to Columbus to see the World Championships in '70. Making their debut on American soil were Ivanchenko and Rigert in 82.5, Kolotov and Kidyaev in 90, and Alexeev in Supers. The guy that impressed me the most was, easily, Ivanchenko. He appeared to have been chiseled out of marble. What a physique! And the strength to go with it, too. The press would no longer be part of the Olympic lifts after Munich in '72, but the stupifyingly strong Gennady showed how it could be done in a relatively strict manner. His quick lifts were world records also. I recall him casually striding to the bar, completely without emotion, and once that grip had been set....watch out! This phrase might be overused, but truly, he toyed with the weights that day. We all wanted to look like him, and lift like him (yeah, like that could happen!).
Imagine being good enough to be picked for the Russian national team back then, before the break up of the USSR! They had a dozen guys who could have won.
To me, Gennady will always be an immortal champion....a lifting god.
:: 10/8/2009: Bill in NJ, Fort Monmouth NJ, USA
I remember Ivanchenko, Rigert and Aleexev in the early 1970s as I was getting interested in weightlifting myself. A friend and I started, but alas, never quite completed our journey. My buddy was amazed by Dave Rigert while I hero-worshipped Gennady. I would have filled out to be about in Gennady's weight-class which is why I found him my role model.
I'll glad to see he is doing well. I hope his dip record gets acknowledged.
:: 1/21/2008: Tom Shaver, Tunkhannock PA, USA
I am not a competitive O-lifter, but have always enjoyed the gains I've made in athleticism by doing the O-lifts...this interview and gallery slideshow have been an incredible inspiration to me to continue the course...one look at Mr. Ivanchenko and you can just feel the athletic ability he possesses...thanks for the inspiration!
:: 1/5/2008: Jim O'Malley, Voorhees New Jersey, USA
Ivanchenko was always one of my favorites and I thank you for making this most interesting interview available to all of us here !
:: 12/12/2007: Bill Shine, , USA
Great interview, there is nothing more interesting than a champions rise to the top, especially top eastern block athletes from the 60's and 70's. Keep them coming!
:: 12/11/2007: Geoff Fleming, NJ, USA
Fantastic! It covered every topic and Gennady answered everything perfectly. What an amazing speciman...his pure strength was phenomenal, especially those dipping and 'good morning' poundages! Who today could come close to his records? Just excellent.
Just as weightlifting fans speak reverently of Tommy Kono, Pete George and Dave Sheppard from the 1950s, those who followed the sport during the 1970s speak of Ivanchenko with the same awe.
:: 12/11/2007: Wolf Hasenmaier, , Germany
Amazing! Standing military press with 178 kg at 82,5 kg bodyweight. His back on the 2nd last pic (Nr.88?) is second to none.
:: 12/11/2007: Les Kernodle, TN, USA
Thanks Arthur , I greatly admired this guy and yes that photo by Tommy Kono is 'iconic' and truly embedded in the mind of anyone who saw it in the early 70s .... what a thrill to see the early pics of him , and the primative early training quarters , much like the Dube brothers had. Just goes to show ... you can lay a foundation anywhere with hard work.
I have some pics from IronMan of him throwing a barrell MANY feet into the air .... I'll find & scan
:: 12/11/2007: Walt Lampert, , USA
Arthur, thanks so much for the interview with Ivanchenko. Positively one of my alltime favorites. What an athlete!! The 160kg seated press for 2 repetitions is nothing less than staggering. Hard to believe that an 82.5 kilo man could do this. Great photos from his archive. What humble training conditions in the begining.
:: 11/9/2007: Victor Rosenberg, Cleveland Heights Ohio, USA
On the above: Kolotov's first name was Vasily. The bronze in the 198 went to Geza Toth of Hungary.
There were some pictures of Adam Gnatov in Strength & Health. One in either the November or December 1971 issue; two good ones in different places in the July 1972 issue.
Ivanchenko did make a comeback after his shoulder surgery. In May 1972 he set the world record in the press with 178.5 kg (the last world record ever in the 82.5 class) and also totaled more than Pavlov ever did, but the Soviet authorities seem to have been wary of putting a recently recovered athlete in the Olympics. Bob Hoffman mentioned in his report on the 1972 Olympics that Kolotov and Ivanchenko were sitting in the audience.
Ivanchenko is also on the cover of the June 1972 Strength & Health. Inside the same issue is an incredible photo, taken by Kono, of Ivanchenko from the back doing snatch pulls. More great photos of Ivanchenko are in the January 1973 S&H. I remember as a teenager wanting to grow up to look like Rigert, Kolotov, and Ivanchenko (I don't).
:: 4/27/2007: Tom Leuthner, IL, USA
To Julian Phillips of Trinidad:
No, Ivanchenko suprisingly only competed in one World Championship or Olympics. In 1968 (Mexico City) Boris Selitsky and Vladimir Belyaev were the USSR entrants at 82.5kg, and in 1972 it was Boris Pavlov and Valery Shary (I think; could be wrong on Shary). At any rate, they along with the 75kg entrant Kanygin and Rigert at 90kg ALL bombed.
I believe Ivanchenko had a bad shoulder that ended his career early. I saw him at the 1971 Europeans in Sofia and he appeared to be struggling with it then already, his lifts didn't look near as crisp as in Columbus, though he still won.
:: 4/27/2007: Tom Leuthner, IL, USA
Just wanted to correct a statement by Mike Phillips on 4/13. Mike Karchut did not bomb at the 1970 worlds in Columbus, he took fourth with a total of either 475 or 480kgs. Had he made his 187.5 C&J attempt, he would have beaten Rigert. BTW, I want to thank Arthur Chidlovski for his great work in designing and updating this website. Always enjoy spotting a new page, like this Ivanchenko one and a little further back, the Bessonov.
:: 4/14/2007: Randy Herndon, Pembroke Pines FL, US
I saw old photos in magazines of his back develpoment, which was incredible. In addition, one photo was of you power cleaning 374 for a press with very little dip.
Does anyone know what his best power clean and full squat ( front and back) were?
:: 4/13/2007: Santi Briglia, Suffern New York, USA
One early summer day back in 1973, I picked up my first copy of Strength & Health, opened the cover and there was the sepia toned photo of Gennady Ivanchenko on that red, white and blue Hi-Proteen tablets ad. That was the moment I fell in love with weightlifting. The picture of that chiseled, determined superman blew open the doors to a far broader horizon for me that day!
:: 4/13/2007: Geoffray Fleming, NJ, USA
Tommy Kono became quite friendly with Ivanchenko...so much so, that when he visited the USSR, Gennady invited him to his home. He proudly showed Tommy his new, government issued car and insisted on going for a drive. Unfortunately, he was not a very good driver and Tommy had some scary moments as they careened through Riga. Must have been quite comical!
:: 4/13/2007: Tim Swords, League City TX, USA
ivanchenko was one of the lifters that got me interested in the sport when i was a kid.
other soviet lifters that i enjoyed reading about were talts, i believe the spelling is gnatov, i think he was a fly weight, kolotov, rigert and of course alexseev. i also was amazed at lifters like basanowski, foldi, reading, mang and bonk from germany. i would like to see a picture of the small powerhouse from the ussr (gnatov)do you have any? i was and still am a big fan of many of the older usa lifters of course! (dube, holbrook, gripaldi, etc..)
ps i am sure my spelling is off on some of these names!
:: 4/13/2007: Mike Phillips, New Albany IN, USA
Ivanchenko was nicknamed 'the Robot.' Nothing could disturb this guy's concentration under pressure! He marched out to the bar and executed his lifts as one under a trance! Gennadi was the 82.5 Kg. Champ at the '70 Worlds in Columbus, Ohio! Our man (Mike Karchut) bombed, but Rigert came in 3rd! ..Oh yeah, Phil Grippaldi came in 2nd to Victor Kolotov (lighter bodyweight than 3rd-place man). Wish I could remember the name of the foreigner that Grippaldi nosed out on bodyweight!
:: 4/13/2007: Rege Becker, Pittsburgh Barbell Club, Pittsburgh PA, USA
Our coach Alexander Chtanine grew up in Riga and followed Gennady as the Jr 82 kilo Latvian champ and (I think) may have broken some of his Jr records...
But the most memorable stories Alex tells are or Gennady's legendary workouts; he would do sets of pulls after sets of pulls after sets of pulls. Alex said he did sn and cl pulls 'all day' and that if he, Alex, tried the pull with him he would be dead for days. Apparently Mr. Ivanchenko came by his legendary and impressive back the old fashioned way, he earned it!
:: 4/13/2007: Geoffray Fleming, NJ, USA
Gennady really impressed the U.S. lifing community when he appeared in 1970, at the Columbus, Ohio World Championships... Everyone kept talking about his incredible physique, lifting ability and the way he approached the bar like a robot. He was greatly admired.
:: 4/13/2007: Julian Phillips , Cascade , Trinidad
Did Ivanchenko ever compete at any Olympic Games?
:: 4/13/2007: mike rinaldi, whiting nj, usa
i believe he sprung upon the scene with kolotov and both were so dominant that i thought their records would stand for a long time. he to me represented the essence of the unbelievable progress in weightlifting that boggles the mind of anyone who has watched it for a time. i know little of him, other than the numbers and his magnificently hard looking physique
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