Leonid Zhabotinsky

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Leonid Zhabotinsky
Leonid Zhabotinsky 1968cr2.jpg
Zhabotinsky in 1968
Personal information
Born(1938-01-28)28 January 1938
Uspenka, Sumy, USSR
Died14 January 2016(2016-01-14) (aged 77)
Zaporozhia, Ukraine
Height1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)[1]
Weight163 kg (359 lb) (1968)

Leonid Ivanovych Zhabotynsky (Ukrainian: Леонiд Iванович Жаботинський; 28 January 1938 – 14 January 2016) was a Soviet weightlifter who set 19 world records in the superheavyweight class, and won gold medals at the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Zhabotinsky was born in a village in Uspenka, Sumy Oblast, Ukrainian SSR into a Cossack family.[4] Although Ivan Philipovich, his father, was an athlete, Zhabotinsky stated in a 1967 interview that he took after one of his grandfathers, and neither of his parents had an outstanding physique.[3] Zhabotynsky spent his childhood years in Zaporizhia. After graduating from the seven-year secondary school, he worked at the Kharkiv Tractor Plant and was coached by Mikhail Svetlichny at the local weightlifting club of the Armed Forces sports society.[3][4]

Weightlifting career[edit]

Zhabotynsky debuted at the Ukrainian SSR Championship in 1957, where he earned a bronze medal.[3] Later that year, Zhabotynsky entered the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute and studied there until 1964. Zhabotynsky was the flag bearer for the Soviet Union during the opening ceremonies of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, carrying the Soviet flag single-handed when the team marched in, when all the other flag bearers used two hands.[3] Between 1963 and 1974 Zhabotynsky set 19 world records in the superheavyweight class and won gold medals at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics,[5][3] he was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1965 and 1991.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1964 Zhabotinsky graduated from the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute and in 1970 defended a PhD in pedagogy. After ending his sport career he coached weightlifters at the Soviet Army and retired in 1991 as a Colonel. In 1987–1991 he worked in Madagascar as a military consultant and weightlifting coach. After that he became a pro-rector of the Moscow Institute of Business and Law, one of the first private higher education facilities in Russia.[2]

Zhabotinsky was married to Raisa and had two sons, Ruslan and Vilen, both of whom have competed in weightlifting,[6] he died at the age of 77 on 14 January 2016 in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.[3][7]

Zhabotinsky was Arnold Schwarzenegger's teenage idol.[3]


  1. ^ Yuri Vlasov (1984). Справедливость силы. М.: Молодая гвардия.
  2. ^ a b "Leonid Zhabotynskiy". Sports Reference. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts, Sam (17 January 2016). "Leonid Zhabotinsky, Strongman for the Ages, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b Жаботинский, Леонид Жаботинский. Peoples.ru (28 January 1938). Retrieved on 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ Leonid Zhabotinsky. chidlovski.net
  6. ^ Леонид Жаботинский: «Мне не надо было есть за десятерых, чтобы бить рекорды». fakty.ua. 29 January 2013
  7. ^ Скончался легендарный тяжелоатлет Леонид Жаботинский (in Russian). BBC. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.

External links[edit]