Russian weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev was born in 1942 in a small village in the Soviet Union. During his somewhat short professional career he won two gold Olympic medals and set eighty world records in weightlifting.
Vasily’s started lifting in 1960 at the age of 18, at which time he was trained by a coach for about eight years. After that, Vasily decided to train on his own and in 1970 he managed to set his first world record during the World Weightlifting Championship in Columbus, Ohio with 500 lbs clean & jerk. He continued to compete for next seven years, setting 79 more world records! Since the Russian Federation gave him extra money for every new record, he simply increased his lifts by a pound each time he competed. For those eight years, Vasily Alekseyev was undefeated European Champion and the first one to total more than 1322 pounds in the triple event.
Unfortunately, he scored zero during the Moscow Olympics of 1980 as a result of setting the opening weight too high. This was a huge disappointment and he decided it’s time to retire. Ten years later, Vasily worked as a couch for about two years for the Unifed Team. They excelled during the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning five gold medals.
Some of his best results include 419 lbs snatch, 521 lbs clean & press, 546 lbs clean & jerk and 1421 total (clean & press, snatch, clean & jerk). Vasily Alekseyev was named the “World’s Strongest Man” in 1975 by the Sports Illustrated magazine and the best sportsman of the 20th century in 1999 in Greece. He died in 2011 following a serious heart condition.
Some would like to become as strong as Olypmic weightlifters, but without getting too big like Vasily Alekseyev who weighted 357 lb. If you’d like to achieve the same thing, make sure to check out Deceptive Strength: Becoming Strong While Staying Small.