David Rigert

David Rigert

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David Adamovich Rigert (born March 12, 1947, in the village of Nagornoye, Kokchetav Oblast, Kazakh SSR
Kazakh SSR
The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Kazakh SSR for short, was one of republics that made up the Soviet Union.At in area, it was the second largest constituent republic in the USSR, after the Russian SFSR. Its capital was Alma-Ata . Today it is the independent state of...

) is a former Olympic
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 weightlifter for the USSR. Rigert became one of the greatest weightlifters in history. He is Jewish.

Family and early years

Rigert was the son of the Russia-German Adam Adamowitsch Rigert and Jelisaweta Rudolfowna Horn. His grandfather Adam Rigert worked at the estate of Baron Rudolf Horn, an officer of the czar. Baron Horns daughter Lisbeth married Adam Rigert's son Adam.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 his father was brought to the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 as forced laborer together with other Russia-Germans and his mother and children were brought to North-Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. David and his siblings grew up in Kuban
Kuban is a geographic region of Southern Russia surrounding the Kuban River, on the Black Sea between the Don Steppe, Volga Delta and the Caucasus...

 territory near the Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...



Rigert began practicing weightlifting on his own in 1966, utilizing the training methods of former Soviet weightlifting champion Arkady Vorobyov
Arkady Vorobyov
Arkady Nikitich Vorobyov was a Russian Soviet middle-heavyweight, who won two Olympic gold medals in weightlifting.Arkady Vorobyov took part in the German-Soviet War, serving in the Marines. After the war he worked on the restoration of the Odessa sea port and cleared the adjoining area of water...

. Two years later, while serving in the Soviet army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

, Rigert earned the title Master of Sports of the USSR
Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR
Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR is a document which provided general Soviet physical education system requirements for athletes. The classification was established in 1935 and was based on separate classifications, which existed for several sports disciplines before...

. After demobilization he lived and trained in Armavir
Armavir is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the left bank of the Kuban River. Population: 144,000 . Armavir was formerly the second-largest industrial center of Krasnodar Krai, after Krasnodar....

. In 1969 he met the famous Soviet coach Michael Rudolf Plukfelder, who invited him to Shakhty
Shakhty is a city in Rostov Oblast, Russia, located on the southeastern spur of Donetsk mountain ridge, northeast of Rostov-on-Don. Its population was 240,152 per the preliminary results of the 2010 Census; up from 222,592 recorded in the 2002 Census....

, where Rigert began training at Trud Voluntary Sports Society under Plukfelder. Just 11 months later, in 1970, Rigert made the USSR national team and debuted internationally, earning the bronze at the World Championships. In 1971 at the RSFSR Championships, Rigert set his first World record. Thus began an extraordinary series of 68 World records which were overshadowed only by fellow countryman and weightlifter Vasiliy Alekseyev
Vasiliy Alekseyev
Vasiliy Ivanovich Alekseyev was a weightlifter from the Soviet Union. He set 80 world records and 81 Soviet records in weightlifting and won gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.- Biography :...

's achievements.

After a disappointing performance at the 1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

, in 1973 Rigert won in all competitions he participated, setting eight World records. He won in all World and European Championships between 1973 and 1976, and earned the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games on May 12, 1970, at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam, over the bids of Moscow and...

. Despite these and other brilliant achievements during his career as a weightlifter, his final performance was disappointing: scoring zero at the 1980 Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

. A possible cause was Rigert's transfer to a lighter weight class, from his favorite "under 100 kg" category to "under 90 kg".

After finishing his career, Rigert moved to Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

 and later to Taganrog
Taganrog is a seaport city in Rostov Oblast, Russia, located on the north shore of Taganrog Bay , several kilometers west of the mouth of the Don River. Population: -History of Taganrog:...

. He coached, studied at The Moscow Institute of Physical Culture, manufactured weights for weightlifting competitions and built some 100 sport facilities in Taganrog. He also created a weightlifting center in Taganrog and coached the Russian National Team. In 2004 Rigert was elected deputy of the Taganrog City Council (Duma), and in March 2009 Rigert was reelected deputy of the Taganrog Duma, representing the United Russia
United Russia
United Russia is a centrist political party in Russia and the largest party in the country, currently holding 315 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. The party was founded in December 2001, through a merger of the Unity and Fatherland-All Russia parties...

 political party .

Rigert was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour
Order of the Red Banner of Labour
The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

 in 1976.

In 1999 he was elected member of the International Weightlifting Federation
International Weightlifting Federation
The International Weightlifting Federation , headquartered in Budapest, is the international governing body for the sport of Olympic weightlifting.The IWF was founded in 1905, and has 187 member nations. The IWF president is Dr...

 Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
A hall of fame, wall of fame, walk of fame, walk of stars or avenue of stars is a type of attraction established for any field of endeavor to honor individuals of noteworthy achievement in that field...


Weightlifting achievements

  • Senior world champion (1971, 1973-1976, 1978);
  • Bronze medalist at Senior World Championships (1970);
  • European champion (1971-1976, 1978-1980);
  • Set sixty-eight world records during career;
  • National team coach for the USSR/Russia.

External links and sources