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Pipes and Cogs. And lots of heart.
May 5, 2010 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Bulgaria is not what you'd call a wealthy country. It has a smaller population than New York City. But Bulgaria utterly dominates the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. A full explanation of this prowess is beyond the scope of a simple blog post, but I will share with you this six-minute video about a man who built a nationally-ranked team training his athletes with barbells made of pipes and cogs and assorted industrial junk. I hope this goes at least a little way towards explaining their remarkable accomplishments.
posted by jason's_planet (17 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 2000 Census reports the population of NYC as 8,213,839. That means that in Europe alone 27 other countries also have a population smaller than NYC - including Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Georgia, Croatia, Ireland, Albania, Latvia, Malta, Iceland and others. So, I'm not sure the population comparison is all that helpful and/or NYC is just a really big city. : )
posted by jardinier at 6:13 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. Inspiring. Thanks.
posted by googly at 6:15 PM on May 5, 2010


So, I'm not sure the population comparison is all that helpful

No, it really is: if NYC got off its ass it could *dominate* the world of weightlifting.
posted by cromagnon at 6:18 PM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


posted by cromagnon if NYC got off its ass it could *dominate* the world of weightlifting.

Hey! HEY! I'm liftin' here! I'm liftin' here!
posted by mattdidthat at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


Ba-da-bing ba-da-barbell ba-da-boom.
posted by lalochezia at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2010


So, I'm not sure the population comparison is all that helpful and/or NYC is just a really big city

I'm with cromagnon. Compared to Bulgaria, New York is just a really big city... where no one trains competitive Olympic lifters using industrial scrap.

This is not just a geographic coincidence -- the Bulgarians have a distinctively brutal training style (low variation but high intensity, including multiple training sessions per day, 6 or 7 days a week).
posted by vorfeed at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're tough bastards. Ask the Byzantines.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bulgaria, Bulgaria, you border on the Ad-ri-atic,
You dominate the sport of Olympic Weightlifting,
Yet your population is smaller than that of NewYork City...

(apologies to Coach)
posted by Flashman at 8:23 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You ain't never seen no-baaaddy hoist boxes offa da backa dem trucks? We's too busy makin' delivrees to go to no Olympics over here.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:41 PM on May 5, 2010


Bulgaria? Isn't that the country that withdrew its entire weightlifting team from the Beijing Olympics after 11 athletes tested positive for steroids?
posted by grounded at 10:27 PM on May 5, 2010


Can someone explain the shoes?
posted by dirty lies at 10:30 PM on May 5, 2010


Bulgaria, Bulgaria, you border on the Ad-ri-atic,

Ahem.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:44 PM on May 5, 2010


Of course, the question on everybody's lips is whether Bulgaria's top strength coaches recommend doing all the main lifts or not.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:17 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose I should step in, coincidentally at that, and lay that one to rest. Maybe (hopefully at least!) one person will have more than one book to quote from when this topic comes up. Although Romanian, there is one guy pretty much responsible for the Eastern Bloc having such a strong showing in the past Olympics (aside from the steroids): Your favorite strength coach's strength coach; Tudor Bompa.

All that aside, this is cool. Having known a couple, I love coaches with nothing better to do than train and disperse their knowledge for free.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:56 PM on May 5, 2010


I spent a lot of time watching live online feeds from the Beijing Olympics, since much of the most interesting stuff wasn't really covered in the West (unless they tended to dominate a given event). Of particular interest, I was startled by the massive and rapidly increasing interest in female weightlifting among Asian countries. Would have loved to have seen the three (pulled) Bulgarian women competing.
posted by RavinDave at 1:27 AM on May 6, 2010


Can someone explain the shoes?

Long, drawn-out essay about weightlifting shoes by Bud Charniga

Shorter answer by Kilgore and Rippetoe
posted by jason's_planet at 4:44 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bulgaria? Isn't that the country that withdrew its entire weightlifting team from the Beijing Olympics after 11 athletes tested positive for steroids?

Dude, everyone is on steroids in weightlifting. Hell, in most top sports. Olympic-style weightlifting is a sport that is extremely technique-heavy. The more you train, the more likely your technique will improve, and the more you can lift. Steroids are not about muscle mass, they're about recovery.
posted by schroedinger at 5:30 PM on May 6, 2010


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