Russian Weightlifter and Olympic Gold Medalist Yury Vlasov Dies at 85

Vlaslov was the first person to break the 200-kilogram (441-pound) milestone on the clean & jerk.

Weightlifter Yury Vlasov died on Feb. 13, 2021, at the age of 85 from natural causes. The Russian leaves behind the legacy of being the first person ever to clean & jerk over 200 kilograms (441 pounds). He lifted 202.5 kilograms (446.4 pounds) at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, where he won gold.

During his time in the sport as a plus-90-kilogram competitor, the 6’1″ tall, nearly 300-pound Vlasov won gold and silver at the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games, respectively, set over two dozen world records, and won the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Weightlifting Championships (WWC) four times (1959, 1961-63).

In addition to his career as a weightlifter, Vlasov was a journalist, politician, and author, having written over a dozen published novels and 10 collections of short stories.


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A post shared by Юрий Власов. Избранное. (@yuryvlasov1935)

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Competitive Career

Here are Vlasov’s most significant accomplishments in weightlifting. At each contest, he represented the Soviet Union.

Olympic Games

  • 1960 Rome Olympic Games — Gold
  • 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games — Silver

For both Olympic Games, Vlasov was the Russian flagbearer during the opening ceremonies.

World Weightlifting Championships

  • 1959 Warsaw WWC — Gold
  • 1961 Vienna WWC — Gold
  • 1962 Budapest WWC — Gold
  • 1963 Stockholm WWC — Gold
  • 1964 Tokyo WWC — Silver

European Weightlifting Championships

His six wins at the IWF European Weightlifting Championships (EWC) were consecutive:

  • 1959 Warsaw EWC — Gold
  • 1960 Milan — Gold
  • 1961 Vienna — Gold
  • 1962 Budapest — Gold
  • 1963 Stockholm — Gold
  • 1964 Moscow — Gold

From 1959 to 1963, Vlasov won every sanctioned event he competed in. If you have not yet had the opportunity to see his record-setting milestone clean & jerk of 202.5 kilograms (446.4 pounds) from the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, you can do so below courtesy of WliftPro’s YouTube channel:

[Related: Lasha Talakhadze Makes the Heaviest Clean & Jerk Ever Caught On Film (267kg/588.6lbs)]

Those Inspired

Beyond his impact on the lifting platform, Vlasov’s legacy is felt in those he inspired. Seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzeneggar took to Twitter to share Vlasov’s influence on him as a young lifter in a four-tweet thread:

[Related: Weightlifting’s Pioneers Used Techniques You’ll Never See Today]

This man wasn’t just a great lifter — he was a great thinker. He…carried around more books than weights.

Like Schwarzenegger, Vlasov had a political career after retiring from weightlifting. In 1989, Vlasov was elected to the Congress of People’s Deputies for the Lyublyansky district of Moscow. Four years later, he was elected to the State Duma of the Russian Federation — the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia. In the 1996 Russian presidential election, Vlasov ran as an Independent candidate that garnered 0.2 percent of the vote.


Who is Yury Vlasov?

Yury Vlasov was a decorated Russian weightlifter, politician, and journalist. He won gold at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games and silver at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. He has four IWF Weightlifting World Championship titles (1959, 1961-63) and six European Weightlifting Championships titles (1959-1964).

When did Vlasov clean & jerk over 200 kilograms?

Yury Vlasov became the first person to ever clean & jerk over 200 kilograms (441 pounds) at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games where he lifted 202.5 kilograms (446.4 pounds) en route to a gold-medal finish.

Feature image from Yury Vlasov’s Instagram page: @yuryvlasov1935