:: 10/18/2020: Arthur Chidlovski, , USA
Vladimir Belyaev passed away in May 2020. RIP to a great athlete and champion.
:: 10/4/2020: paul travis, hilliard ohio, usa
I always felt bad for Belyaev. I tend to agree the Russian coach probably made an honest mistake. I wonder if Belyaev is still alive?
:: 12/30/2011: Victor Rosenberg, Cleveland Heights Ohio, USA
I find it very interesting that Vorobiev was ashamed. He may have been given orders to make Belyaev attempt 2.5 kilos more than he needed. The next day in Sovietsky Sport the article by Dmitri Ivanov was accompanied by a picture of Belyaev but not of Selitsky.
Ivanov expressed regret that both of them couldn't have won gold medals and it was clear that Ivanov thought Belyaev got a raw deal.
As for 'political reasons': that is what Bob Hoffman reported that a Soviet official said. Belyaev wouldn't have been in complete disfavor; of course he couldn't have got away with protesting the invasion of Czechoslovakia, for example. But there might have been some reason that Selitsky was PREFERRED to Belyaev.
Another possibility that occurs to me, although I think it's less likely: Vorobiev really did make an honest mistake but rather than admit it the Soviets claimed that it was political.
:: 12/26/2011: Alfonso Rodriguez, Palm Bay Florida, USA
According to a friend of mine that was the coach for Puerto Rico at the Mexico Games and who was present backstage at the competion of the light heavyweights, Belyaev was the victim of a bad tactics by then Russian coach Arcady Vorobiev. The 190 kg should have been an sure lift since Belyaev had done it before. In 1966 he needed the same weight to defeat Veres from Hungary at the world championships in Berlin in 1966 and he did. True, he should have taken 413 (187 kg) but the 190 was within his range. There was quite a scene backstage as Belyaev lit up a cigarette and angrily puffed at it (yes, he was a smoker) and screamed at Vorobiev and insulted him and gestured with his the cigarette in hand very close to the coach's face (inches away). By all accounts, Voroviev just looked sheepishly to the floor during the tirade. The way I see it, it was Belyaev's fault since he missed a lift he had done before and he was in good shape. Voroviev was mistaken but he did not ask anything from the athlete that he had not done before. Vorobiev acted ashamed during the encounter but in the end Belyaev composed himself and went to the podium to receive his medal (which he almost threw away backstage since he was still very angry). So I do not think that there were any political reasons or motivations to make him fail since he was taken to the Olympics. If he had been in political disfavor, he would have left in mother Russia as was customary back then. The Russians doubled up in that class since they had the best two lifters at the time and did not care who won just as long as a Russian took gold. So in the absence of injuries, Belyaev was not asked to do the impossible or anything he had not done before in a clutch even though it was a stupid tactical move by Voroviev who was the grand guru of Soviet weightlifting at the time and a twice Olympic champion himself. He was just human and stuff happens.
:: 9/29/2007: Victor Rosenberg, Cleveland Ohio, USA
Belyaev needed a 187.5 kg jerk to beat his teammate Selitsky at the 1968 Olympics, but the coaches made him attempt 190 and he missed. Afterward a Soviet official said that Selitsky was selected to win 'for political reasons.' Does anyone know the specific reasons?
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