Franciscus “Frans” De Haes was a Belgian weightlifter who won the very first gold medal ever awarded in the featherweight class at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. 1920 was the first time that weightlifting was divided into weight categories. In those days, International weightlifting competition consisted of three events, but probably not the ones you are thinking of: the clean and jerk, the 1-hand snatch, and the 1-hand clean and jerk. The weightlifting event was held outside on the infield of the stadium under a tent where it was cold and dark. The loose cinder surface also made footing difficult. De Haes took the gold with a 220 kg total.
A rare shot of the lineup of heavyweight winners at the 1938 World Weightlifting Championships held in Vienna (Which was then a part of Germany.) From left to right Josef Manger of Germany (410 kg. total), Steve Stanko of the United States (397.5 kg. total) and Arnold Luhaar of Estonia (390 kg. total).
The Soviet Union has a long history of weightlifting champions and one of the men at the very beginning was Aleksandr Bukharov, shown above snatching a globe barbell. Bukharov was a 7-time Russian lifting champion from 1918-1926, setting 24 USSR records in the process in the featherweight class. Bukharov was the very first weightlifting “Master of Sport” and the 15th Master of Sport ever awarded.
The fellow to the right was also a noted lifter Jan Sparre, the 11-time USSR champion between the years of 1918-1934.
Tommy Kono graces the cover of the August, 1955 issue of Strength and Health magazine. Just a few months later, in October of 1955, Tommy would go on to take the Gold medal in the light-heavyweight (82.5 kg) class at the World Championships held in in Munich, West Germany. Kono’s winning total was 435 kg, and consisted of a 142.5 kg press, a 127.5 kg snatch and a 165 kg clean and jerk.