Weightlifting Throwback: Leonid Taranenko Attempts a 270 Clean & Jerk!

On Christmas Eve, the best weightlifting video we’ve seen — or at least most interesting, the actual resolution isn’t anything to write home about — is a true throwback. It’s a video from the 1987 European Weightlifting Cup Gala, a tournament that showcased some of the top lifters of the era. And while the video features tons of great lifting in 55 minutes, the most impressive attempt is actually a miss toward the end of the video (roughly the 54:20 mark).

It’s Soviet/Belarusian superheavyweight Leonid Taranenko attempting a 270kg clean & jerk, and it’s certainly worth a watch — just minutes after attempting 266kg. Check out the lift below.

For those not aware, Taranenko actually hit a 266kg clean & jerk the following year for what remains the all-time heaviest clean & jerk in international competition. But what’s especially remarkable about the above video is that 270kg is the heaviest weight (on video) we’ve ever seen a lifter rack to their shoulders, though Taranenko was unsuccessful in standing it up. It’s worth noting that there ARE videos of lifters completing 270kg rack jerks in training, which you can watch here.

Another interesting tidbit: Though Taranenko’s 270kg attempt is perhaps the closest we’ve seen anyone come to cleaning that weight on video, it’s not the heaviest clean & jerk attempt in international competition history. That distinction belongs to Russian superheavyweight Andrei Chemerkin, who attempted 272.5kg — for what would have been a comeback victory — at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

You can view that attempt below.

An impressive pull, but certainly not in the same realm as Taranenko’s attempt as far as where he actually got the bar.

Featured image: Weightlifting News Agent on YouTube

David Tao

David Tao

BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting.

David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day.

David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.

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