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H. Reza Zadeh, Iran

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The Last Days of Alexander Pervy

Those who followed the Olympic weightlifting of the 1980s most definitely would remember the name of Alexander Pervy. A native of Donetsk region in Ukraine, Alexander Pervy was one of the most talented and promising young athletes of his time in the world. On the international arena, he always seemed to be just a touch behind his opponents in the competition for the gold medal. However, the medal count could barely reflect the intensity of the battles that Pervy gave his legendary opponents on the platform. He challenged such notorious Bulgarian lifters as Asen Zlatev and Yanko Rusev. These battles led to unforgettable world records and the most exciting moments in the history of this sport.

Life of Alexander Pervy outside the training halls and competitions was as intense as it was on the platform. He died at 25. The following is a translated extract from the "Yury Zakharevich" book by Alexander Sklyarenko published in 1990.


Yury Zakharevitch and his friends didn't hesitate for a moment what to do when they found out that Alexander Pervy died in his hometown in the suburbs of Donetsk.

The fans of this sport knew his name - he won a silver medal at the Olympics in Moscow, broke numerous world records. He was a very talented weightlifter - that's what all experts were saying about him. But the guy couldn't control himself. Big victories on the platform were followed by big parties. And the doctors said that the heart of this 24-year old guy won't coop with these kind of life.

- But Sasha didn't listen to anybody, - remembers Zakharevitch. - Only Victor Sots was able straighten him up in Donetsk. But it wasn't right.

Victor had his own family. He ain't a babysitter for Pervy. So, the things were getting worse more and more. Pervy's lifting results went down, he was kicked out from the national team. He was in the military and competed for the army club. They fired him. In his last days, no one really cared about him. He couldn't find a job. Then he started to go to school but soon jumped of the wagon again.

Two days before his death, Pervy went to the store and brought home a TV set. "I want the kids to watch it," - he said. "As for me... it's over." As if he knew what was going to happen to him.

- We were in the training camp in Feodosia. One night, Sots called home and his wife told him "Pervy is dead." As soon as he heard the news, Victor jumped into the car and went to Donetsk. In the morning, we all followed him. I was driving, Rigert and Arsamakov were in the car. Pervy had a few drinks with some of his buddies. You know this type - the ones that hangs around sports people. Then they went cruising in the town.

Then Pervy all of a sudden felt pain. He had a heart attack before - barely survived. His buddies got scared, got a cab, pushed Pervy's budy into it and went on cruising. The driver thought he was drunk and then looked again... Pervy was dead.

The lifters from the national team rushed to Donetsk for the funeral to pay the last tribute to their friend. None of Pervy's drinking buddies attended the funeral. As the old saying goes, the time of toubles always shows who your real friends are.

 

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