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Zhabotinsky interview circa 1967
Topic: Zhabotinsky interview circa 1967 (Read 753 times)
Zhabotinsky interview circa 1967
Jan 08, 2008, 02:29 PM »
Olympic champion Leonid Zhabotinsky was proclaimed the strongest man on earth for the third time at the world weightlifting championships in Berlin. The 28-year-old Zaporozhie giant is now in the prime of his prowess and remarkable results can he expected of him. APN Sports Commentator Dmitri Ivanov asked Zhabotinsky several questions. We present here this interview.
"Tell me, please, who helped you become such a strong man?"
in sports. just as in life in general, 1 have good luck in meeting splendid people. At the age of 15 1 met Mikhail Svetlichny. trainer of weightlifters at the Kharkov Tractor Plant. This instructor with the soul of a poet evidently woke up in me an inherent sports fervor and taught me to lilt the barbell. 1 could name also other fine people who showed concern for my development as a sportsman. For instance, Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gromov, honorary president of our Weightlifting Federation, showed his solicitude for me. By the way, he was the first champion of the USSR in the heavyweight division."
"And what role did your own physical makeup play?"
"1 believe that athletic features are not a hereditary phenomenon. My parents were not outstanding for their physiques. I weigh about 160 kilos, and my father a hit more than half of that. My father assures me that I follow in the tracks of my grandfather or grand-grandfather. But after all, in my young years, before getting acquainted with the barbell, I had the most ordinary physique. I lifted only 50 kilos. It required 10 years of training to set my first world record."
" In the Olympic year of 1964, when you were competing against Yuri Vlasov, the question of crossing the 600-kilo border was placed on the weightlifting agenda. But already more than two years have passed and there is no sign or trace of it. Vlasov's record for the three standard lifts, 580 kilos, lives on to this very day. Perhaps a total of 600 kilos is merely a figment of the imagination?"
"No, I am convinced that heavyweights will come to the fore who will cross the border and go on farther. This is a question of time."
"Sports fans are placing their hopes on you and Yuri Vlasov. How do you assess your possibilities?"
"I won't talk about myself. All I can say is that I shall try this year to surpass my Olympic record of 572.5 kilos. Vlasov did not make any public appearance after the Olympics. I know that he has started intense training and if everything turns out alright he may make us happy by sonic fantastic results. I am lucky that I have such a clever and courageous rival. It won't be any exaggeration if I say that I've achieved big results in sport thanks to the rivalry with this great sportsman."
"What do you think about the young American giant Robert Bednarsky, who won the silver medal at the world championships in Berlin?"
He is extraordinarily gifted. At the age of 21 Bednarsky achieved what Vlasov and I attained only at 25; he showed 537.5 kilos in the three standard lifts. He has a good, proportional physique and a good mastery of lifting technique. If Bednarsky will gain some weight, and this he should do, already this year a result surpassing the 550-kilo mark expected of him. But talent alone is not enough, of course. Enviable persistence in pursuing one's object is required. I don't know whether Bednarsky has enough of that in him. Usually American strongmen make early bids but then they leave the stage also early."
"What contests do you intend to enter this year?"
"I would like to perform at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR. Also I shall try to get a berth on the Soviet team to the world championships in Tokyo, which is to take place in October."
"Soviet athletes won five gold medals at the championship in Berlin, and in doing so set several records. How do you explain such a success?"
"We have at the head of our collective a famed strongman in the not so distant pastArkadi Vorobyov, M.S. (Medicine). There is plenty that can be learned from such a teacher. Honored Trainer of the USSR Alexei Medvedev also gives us a lot. He is our first world champion in the heavyweight division. These trainers work creatively and, what we had lacked in the past, they are introducing science into the training process."
"What is it that attracts you in weightlifting?"
"The extreme tension of the sports struggle. It manifests itself especially visibly in weightlifting: each one approaches the barbell. and the one who lifts the biggest weight is the champion."
"What sports events do you employ in your training?"
"Basketball, table tennis, cycling, swimming. and several athletic events. By the way, all the men of our team are all-round sportsmen."
"There are many anecdotes going around about the appetite of famous heavyweights. It is claimed, for instance, that the American Paul Anderson used to drink as much as 10 quarts of milk a day. What is your ration and favorite dishes?"
"To start off with, Ukranian Borshch, preferably at home, made by my wife. My Raya has a pedagogical education, but she is a big hand at the culinary art. A good piece of meat for my secohd dish, like all weightlifters. And then fresh or stewed fruit. I like milk, but not more than a quart a day. My menu also includes pot cheese, sour cream, fresh fish, eggs. Believe it or not, but I really do not eat much. The boys won't let me lie—in competition at the dinner table I lose not only to heavyweights."
"What are your plans in life?"
"Recently I enrolled in a post-graduate course at the chair of weightlifting of the Kiev Institute of Physical Culture. I shall work on a thesis for a master's degree."
"What would you advise young fellows wishing to become strong?"
"To promote their health by all accessible means. Go in more for skiing, skating, swimming, running. and take up sports games. A firm, solid foundation has to be laid at a young age so as to have a good prop further on. This foundation is health, which cannot be attained by a barbell alone. All-round physical training is required. And this takes years. The talent of our athletes manifests itself later than among strongmen abroad, but then it unfolds completely."
"Who can become a sportsman?"
"As the doctors say, practically any healthy person. I would prescribe exercises with the barbell and dumbells to all".
Zhabotinsky interview circa 1967
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