(ATR) For Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legendary Soviet Olympic weightlifting champion Yuri Vlasov "taught all of us that 'impossible' is just a word".
The emblematic figure of world bodybuilding, film star and former governor of California praised Vlasov's personality on Twitter this Monday. Vlasov died at the age of 85 on Saturday.
Vlasov "was the first person to clean and jerk 200 kg, and he inspired me when I met him as a young lifter in 1961. It is because of people like him that I refuse to call myself self-made," Schwarzenegger wrote.
"He told me that the power of the body was nothing compared to the power of the mind. He was one of the strongest men in the world and he believed that true strength came from words," he continued.
"He was truly one of a kind in his class and I hope each and every one of us can find inspiration in his story. I was lucky to meet him and will miss him very much. My thoughts are with his family," said the 73-year-old athlete, politician and actor.
Vlasov, originally from Ukraine, was a gold medalist at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and a silver medalist at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the weight class over 90 kg. In the Japanese capital he was surpassed by his famous colleague Leonid Zhabotinsky
He was also a four-time world champion (1959, 1961, 1962, and 1963), a 1964 world runner-up, and a six-time European champion (1959-1964).
During his sporting career, he set 31 world records and was the standard-bearer for the Soviet Union delegation at the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics.
After concluding his sports career in 1968, Vlasov became a professional writer and journalist. In 1985-1987, he served as president of the Weightlifting Federation of the Soviet Union.
In his political career, Vlasov was a member of the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union (1989) and then of the Russian State Duma (1993). In 1996, Vlasov ran as a candidate for the Russian presidential elections.
According to the Russian press, Vlasov's posthumous farewell is scheduled for February 16 at the Botkin Hospital temple in Moscow.
Written by Miguel Hernandez
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