In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Blagoy Blagoev was one of Bulgaria’s — and the world’s — top weightlifters, helping his national team to an unprecedented era of dominance in strength sport. He was the 1980 Olympic Silver Medalist, three-time World Champion, and four-time European Champion, and he competed in both the 82.5kg and 90kg weight classes throughout his career.
Blagoev was originally the silver medalist at the 1976 Olympics but was disqualified after failing a doping test. (Bulgarian weightlifting’s success during that period is also one of the more controversial runs in the sport’s history.)
Blagoev is best known as a master technician in the snatch, and one of his most famous performances came at the 1982 World Cup. There, Blagoev snatched 195kg and clean & jerked 222.5kg at 90kg bodyweight.
Let’s put that in context. (Note that weight classes have been restructured more than once since Blagoev’s career.) Today’s standing World Record in the snatch for 94kg men is 188kg, held by three-time Olympic Champion Akakios Kakiasvilis — and that record has stood since November 1999.
Blagoev went a full 7 kilos heavier than the current longest-standing men’s World Record, and he did it at a bodyweight 4kg lower. Watch below to see the remarkable lift.
Blagoev’s competition bests in the lifts were a195.5 kg snatch and 228.5kg clean & jerk, both set the following year (1983).
After his retirement from weightlifting, Blagoev would go on to coach Australia’s Paralympic Powerlifting Team in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Featured image: Alexandre Hoffmann on YouTube