Latvian Russian athlete Konstantin Konstantinovs, widely considered one of the greatest powerlifters of all time, has passed away at age 40. No cause of death has been released.
One of the first to announce his death was Kirill Sarychev, the president of the World Raw Powerlifting Federation and holder of the heaviest raw bench press of all time, who just posted the words “Rest in my peace, my friend…” in Russian on Sunday afternoon.
In the Anglosphere, fellow deadlift specialist Cailer Woolam made the first post that got widespread attention.
RIP Big Guy. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet you; it was one of my favorite experiences during my trip to Russia. Thanks for all the inspiration over years ❤️
Best known for his monstrous deadlift, at the time of his death Konstantinovs still held multiple official and unofficial world records including the heaviest ever drug-tested raw deadlift in the 275-pound class (906 pounds), the highest raw total with or without wraps in the 308-pound class (2,217 pounds), the heaviest equipped deadlift in the 275-pound class (945 pounds), and what may be his most famous lift: the heaviest ever raw deadlift, in both tested and untested federations, in the 308-pound class (939 pounds) — and it was done without a belt.
Here’s that 939-pound beltless pull, which for a time was the heaviest raw deadlift in any weight class.
In the wake of his death, the clip below has gone somewhat viral. Professional Russian translator and BarBend contributor Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD, translated it thus:
You can lift as much as you want. Never forget that anything can happen to any of us at any moment… even tomorrow, so the next competition may never happen. And if you have the opportunity, if you have the strength to make a record, never leave it for tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come.
That was an extract from this lengthy interview between Konstantinovs and Kirill Sarychev, which is certainly worth a watch if you’re feeling like learning more about the complex man behind the lifts. He even recites his favorite Russian poem by heart at the 13:20 mark, just make sure you switch on the English subtitles.
There’s a lot of speculation online that Konstantinovs, who also worked as a professional bodyguard, died in a street fight, but Shamayeva could find nothing confirming this in Russian media.
This is a death that is shaking the entire global powerlifting community and we want to extend our condolences to all athletes affected by his death, especially his loved ones. Rest in peace, Mr. Konstantinovs.
Featured image by GionPippa, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Thanks to Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD for contributing to this article.