Weightlifting Legend, Pocket Hercules, Passes at Age 50

naim suleymanoglu weightlifting thenerdyweightlifter olympics


The weightlifting world has recently suffered a major loss.  It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Naim Suleymanoglu.  Suleymanoglu had been having health issues due to a failing liver and was hospitalized where he lay in a coma.  He was eventually able to receive the liver that he needed, but sadly, one week after the transplant, Naim succumbed to the damage his body had already taken and left this plane of existence on November 18, 2017.

For those that may not be aware, Naim Suleymanoglu (b. January 23, 1967), was a weightlifter of Turkish descent, born in Bulgaria.  In his early years he lifted for Bulgaria, and then eventually defected and lifted for Turkey.  Due to his immense strength and standing at a mere 4’10” (147.32 cm) in stature, he gained the nickname “Pocket Hercules”.

Largely hailed as one of the greatest weightlifters to ever exist, Suleymanoglu’s list of accomplishments is nothing to sneeze at.  He is the only person to have snatched 2.5 times body weight and the only person to clean and jerk 10 kg over triple body weight.  This man was STRONG!  Lifting across the 56 kg, 60 kg, 62 kg, and 64 kg weight classes, Naim set a multitude of world records.

His career bests were:

  • 170.5 kg clean and jerk at 56 kg in 1984
  • 152.5 kg snatch at 60 kg in 1988
  • 190 kg clean and jerk at 60 kg in 1988
  • 342.5 kg total at 60 kg in 1988

Throughout the entirety of his career, Naim had amassed 13 gold medals, 1 silver medal, and 1 bronze medal.

Naim Suleymanoglu had a Sinclair total of 504, which is the highest in weightlifting history.

*The Sinclair formula determines who the strongest lifter is by multiplying body weight and total kilograms lifted by a predetermined coefficient.*

Check out the footage of his winning lifts from the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

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