We’ve covered Grigori Novak’s weightlifting career previously. Novak got a handful of Olympic medals and set over a hundred lifting records but once his competitive career came to an end, he did what any great strength athlete would do: he ran off to the circus! For the next 25 years, Novak was a genuine performing strongman, lifting barbells, juggling kettlebells, supporting heavy weights and the like. Eventually his sons Roman and Arkady even joined the act. Above, you’ll see a rare poster of Novak’s circus days.
A look at the great soviet weightlifter Grigori Novak’s World Record standing press of 315 pounds (at 5’3″ and a bodyweight of only 181 pounds!) This would have been in 1949 in a meet in Moscow. Novak’s career was marred by an elbow injury which necessitated an operation – you can tell his left arm is a bit “off” here.
Known as “The Ukranian Hercules,” Grigori Novak was the greatest weightlifter of his era. He stood only 5’3″ but set 111 Soviet records and 62 World records throughout his career. On October, 19th, 1946 at the World Championships, held at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France, Novak totaled 425 kg (935 pounds) in the light-heavyweight class to become the first Soviet weightlifting world champion. Shown above is the completion of Novak’s winning snatch of 130 kg (286 pounds).