Cholakov Brings It Home

Columbus - Standing six feet nine inches tall and weighing over 350 pounds, Bulgaria's Velichio Cholakov certainly looked equal to the task.

In 1970, the World Weightlifting Championships were held in Columbus, Ohio and it was there that Vasily Alexeev became the first man to clean and jerk 500 pounds - the weightlifting equivalent of running a four-minute mile. Since then, nobody has equaled that lift in Columbus - until yesterday, when the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist did on the main stage of the Expo Hall at the Arnold Classic, a feat that earned him a standing ovation.

Cholakov's performance was part of an exhibition of specially-invited top weightlifters from around the world: Le Maosheng from China (2004 Olympics, silver medalist and world recorder holder in the clean and jerk), Georgi Asanidze (2004 Olympics gold medallist) and the big man himself.

As part of those 1970 World Weightlifting Championships, Jim Lorimer went to great lengths to bring in a young Austrian bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Mr. World contest - and that is where and how the fitness expo extravaganza known worldwide as simply The Arnold began.

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