Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Greatest Comeback in Weightlifting History

Kaki is a master technician. 
No one else moves under the bar like he does!

This is a great article by Taylor Chiu off of his website: http://www.olympicweightliftingguru.com 
He has a lot of great stuff there. This is a great story from the world of weightlifting that teaches many lessons on many different levels.

Everybody likes a good comeback, a good underdog.

And every great legend starts somewhere. And for 3-time Olympic Gold medalist Akakide Kakishvillis (Kaki, for short), that journey began at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Although from the country of Georgia, Kakiashvillis lifted for the Unified (former Soviet) team in this contest – the Soviet Union had already collapsed, but there wasn’t time to split into individual nations. In 1992, his main competition was Sergei Syrtsov, a native Russian. Two teammates, coached by the all-time great Vasily Alexeev, going head to head, in what would become an intense duel and the greatest comeback in weightlifting history.
All white lights, 3 good lifts, but soon to be eclipsed by his Unified teammate, Syrtsov. Rumor has it that Alexeev, the coach, didn’t want to see a Georgian beat his fellow Russian, so he didn’t let Kaki push his snatch attempts as high as he wanted. Minutes later in the competition, and Syrtsov had set an Olympic record with a 190 kg snatch.

Just to clarify, a 12.5 kg lead in weightlifting is HUGE. It’s like being up 35 points in a basketball game, or 4 touchdowns ahead in football. Wrap it up. Go home, call it a day.

Kaki was in even bigger trouble when Syrtsov set an Olympic record total with a 222.5 kg Clean & Jerk.

But as the world had learned in 1988 when he hit 225 kg as a Jr. World Champ, Kaki has a BIG clean & jerk.

Even still, Syrtsov’s triumph seemed like such a foregone conclusion that NBC cut their coverage prior to Kaki’s last lift. To win, he would have to tie the world record of 235 kg, one of the greatest world records of all time (to this day).

And a legend was born.

That, my friends, is as good as it gets. All the aches, and sores, and repetitious lifts, for that. We can’t all win a gold medal, but we can all win – against all odds, against our own foes, whether internal or external. Kaki would go on to win 2 more gold medals, his sliver of a victory in those ’92 games leading to a bigger-than-life career.

Face your fears, cause you never know what lays on the other side.

Afternote –

Kaki’s victory is somewhat symbolic of resistance against the Soviet Union, like weightlifting’s version of the “Miracle On Ice”, cause even though he won for the quasi-Soviet team, and mistakenly had his nationality announced as Russian on the medal stand, he was clearly more interested in representing Georgia than the empire. After his win in 1992, he went on to compete in the next 3 Olympiads for Greece (his mother’s homeland), and has been outspoken in the resistance to Russian aggression.

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