The Big Zhabo, 1964 and 1968 Gold Medal Heavyweight Weightlifter Leonid Zhabotinsky, Dies

zhabotinsky mexico city

In 1960 and 1964, weighlifting champion, Yury Vlasov, marched into the stadium in the Olympic opening ceremonies holding the Soviet flag aloft with one hand, some 15kg over several hundred meters.

But at those Games in Tokyo, he surrendered his championship to Leonid Zhabotinsky, a monster of a man nearly 2 meters tall and 160 kilograms. A man who had a flair for the dramatic, Zhabotinsky may have psyched out the champion, Vlasov, as related in this previous post.

And so with the passing of the torch, came also, the passing of the ceremonial bearing of the flag in the Olympics. That’s Zhabotinksy above in Mexico City, continuing Vlasov’s traditional one-handed feat of strength.

On Thursday, the Big Zhabo, a hero to a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, as related in this NY Times obit, passed away at the age of 77.