Heavy weightlifter conquers Europe
Lviv’s strongman tradition is thought to date back to the brawny knights of the medieval period who defended the borderland city from incursions from all directions, while in a more recent period the strongmen of the Habsburg period who populated the circuses of the time came predominantly from the Lviv region, which was then the far eastern outpost of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian realm. Last month saw the emergence of a worthy successor to this rich Lviv strongman tradition when local weightlifter Ihor Shymechko took the heavyweight gold medal at the European Weightlifting Championship in Bucharest. Competing in the weight category for those over 105kg, Mr. Shymechko stunned his rivals by lifting 203kg in the dead lift and 230kg in the power lift sections, giving him a 14kg overall lead over his closest competitor, the second-placed Russian. This performance was the latest positive step in the burgeoning career of the young Shymechko, who turned in a credible performance at last year’s Beijing Olympics but finished just outside the medal positions in fifth place. He is now among the favourites to take a medal at the coming 2012 Olympics in London, provided he can avoid injury in this notoriously tough discipline until them. Shymechko in the latest Lviv local to challenge for top Olympic weightlifting honours, following on from the legendary Petro Korol (literally: ‘Peter the King’) who took the gold medal in weightlifting at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Shymechko’s success is likely to lead to a upsurge in interest in weightlifting in Lviv, so watch out for even more bulging biceps and wide-load males strutting awkwardly round the city centre!