Yanko Rusev (Bulgaria) Wins a European Title and Sets 3 World Records in Varna
December 1, 2021 – Happy Birthday to legendary Yanko Rusev of Bulgaria!
An Olympic champion, 5x World champion, 5x European Champion, author of 25 world records, Yanko Rusev is turning 63.
History in Color:
May 22, 1979, Varna, Bulgaria – 20-year old lightweight Yanko Rusev, member of the national weightlifting team of Bulgaria, wins a gold medal and sets 3 world records in the 67.5kg class at the 1979 European Championships in Varna.
His final total was 322.5kg (145 + 177.5). Rusev managed to set 2 world records in snatch (145 and 146kg) and 1 cj world record (181.5kg). In his career, Yanko Rusev set 25 world records and his personal best were:
- 67.5kg class – 342.5kg (147.5 + 195) at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow
- 75kg class – 365kg (157.5 + 207.5) at the 1982 World Championships in Ljubljana
Yanko Rusev (born 1958) is definitely one of the best Olympic weightlifters of all times and nations in the history of this sport. He was a 5x World champion (1978-1982), a 5x European Champion (1978-1982) and, of course, an Olympic champion (1980). Due to the boycott of the Summer Olympics in LA, Yanko Rusev didn’t compete in the 1984 Olympics. Instead, he won the alternative 1984 Friendship Cup in Varna with a 337.5kg total (145+192.5).
Yanko Rusev shined with an outstanding strength and almost perfect lifting technique in both the snatch and the clean-and-jerk lifts. He was a definite leader in the lightweight and the middleweight divisions and was considered virtually unbeatable at the time he competed in these weight classes.
I remember seeing results from this competition in International Olympic Lifter, a news letter here in the US, but they were all B&W photos. I think Blagoev was on the cover with an written article. I find it interesting that they had green 10Kg plates at this time. I had not seen many of them in use before this and in 1987 World Champs they used black !0Kg plates, also by Leoko. I would have expected it to be the other way around since the color coding had not been standardized yet, apparently. I also have a question about the Soviet bumper plates. Were the smaller plates like !0, 5, 2.5 and 1.25 all metal or were they also made of rubber? i ask because they had different radii compared to Eleiko or other sets that I would see in photos of that era. We have a company here in the US which sells all rubber change plates and they appear very similar in dimensions to those Sovet plates. Thank you.
The original b/w photo obviously didn’t have colors on the plates. Green 10kg plates was my guess. I might have been wrong on it. This was actually the first time I saw the 10kilos of that diameter used in the elite international tournaments. The Soviet rubber plates of that time had the usual diameter used before in the older chrome plates (smaller than 15 and 20s). The 10s, 5s, 2.5s were yellow (like 15kg) and, as far as I remember, 1.25kg were a thin little white metal plates. I only lifted those in the competitions. In the gym, we used black rubber plates. We got them around 1981 or so.
Thank you. I appreciate your input. I had forgotten that you colorize these photos. Be well.