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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | WEIGHTLIFTING

'Hercules' Pockets Third Gold

July 23, 1996|Times Wire Services

Naim Suleymanoglu, the man they call "Pocket Hercules," wasn't ready to claim that he is the greatest weightlifter of all time, even after winning a record third gold medal.

"I'm the first one to do it three times," the 4-foot-11 Turkish lifter said through an interpreter after a world-record performance in the 141-pound division. "Maybe the super heavyweight [Alexander Kurlovich] will do it. You make your own decision."

Suleymanoglu, 29, made his case by setting two world records in outdueling Valerios Leonidis of Greece: 413 1/4 pounds in the clean-and-jerk and 738 1/2 pounds in total weight. He lifted 325 pounds in the snatch.

Leonidis also broke the previous world marks in the clean-and-jerk, with the same lift as Suleymanoglu, and the total, at 733 pounds.

Leonidis could have won on the final lift of the competition, at 418 3/4 pounds. He didn't come close, although he said later he has raised that weight in practice.

"What I lifted today was the very best I could do," he said. "I feel that the most worthy person was able to achieve the lift."

"We are very good friends," said Suleymanoglu.

Vernon Patao, in 22nd place, was the top U.S. lifter.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Medalists / Weightlifting

141 POUNDS

Gold: Naim Suleymanoglu, Turkey

Silver: Valerios Leonidis, Greece

Bronze: Xiao Jiangang, China

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