Lasha Talakhadze has truly made a splash with his amazing result in the snatch at the National Georgian Championship. The famous weightlifter, an Olympic Champion, 4-time World Champion, and 5-time European Champion, has recently starred in a movie about himself. The film describes his preparation and training in Ukraine. You may already watch it online.
Now, we offer an interview with Lasha about his days at the training camp. The athlete kindly agrees to discuss his achievements, objectives, and preferences with us.
- Can you please explain how weightlifting penetrated your life? How did it become your sense? What was the reason for turning a weightlifter?
When I was a kid, my dad was a weightlifter. He definitely had a passion for this type of sport even though he was not an athlete of the global level. By that time, I had no idea that I would follow his destiny step-by-step. Soon, we started our workouts together. After some period of time, I met with Giorgi Asanidze. That man completely changed my faith, making me his trainee. He was a distinguished name in sports by then.
My father introduced me to another great man – Kakhi Kakhiashvili. To note, it is the three-time Olympic Champion. Yes, I can boast the same title, but Kakhi is also the President of the Weightlifting Federation of Georgia. It was a bright episode. I can still remember my excitement. These two trainers were like my biggest inspirations and primary role models. Without them, I would not have become who I am today.
After taking part in international competitions for the first few times, I realized what makes a true athlete. I was surrounded by plenty of young and gifted people with the same goals and dreams as mine. The spirit of competition was what motivated each of us. Despite we made good friends, we fairly competed with each other.
No one was going to give up. The will to do something better and keep on improving all the time is what cheers up an athlete. The idea is never to stop on your achievements, trying to break new records.
- Many weightlifters do not get why the warm-up is so crucial. Some of them even ignore this vital stage of training. How do you personally perceive this phase and what is your preferred strategy?
There is no way to skip warm-up! I just don’t understand athletes that do so. It could be dangerous to start the main set of exercises right away. It is not necessary to warm up on your own.
Vice versa, it is better to ask a qualified massage therapist to help you to get ready. As for me, I dedicate no less than half an hour each time before the basic set of exercises. It’s necessary to warm and heat muscles. My therapist does it with some ointments.
That is not a typical or a classical massage. It is more dynamic and a bit harsh. It is the equivalent of doing specific exercises like stretching on your own. My warm-up with a therapist takes no more than fifteen minutes, as a rule. After that, I move to self-warming with a barbell. It is better to choose light weights for this phase. This way, it’s possible to work technically though it requires plenty of time.
- We have noticed an inconsistent attitude to knee wraps. While some athletes cannot imagine their life without these exercises, others refuse to use them at all. What would you say as an expert?
I would rather call it a habit for some. They cannot later get rid of it even if it does not make too much sense. When I was young, I did not pay attention to them. However, many athletes start doing that after knee injury or trauma. That is when they think about wearing a medical tape for the first time though it is not that durable. Once you get used to this item, you may refuse to put it off for a while.
- What is the role of your trainer in your life? What are the primary qualities that you’re looking for in such a person?
In sports, you know, a coach is the one who actually dictates your destiny. We can say that your results are his achievements too. This person is the one who should get you ready for all the performances and national contests. It’s a great responsibility and I respect this profession a lot.
The coach has more duties than one may think. They should fully recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their wards. Training involves more than physical aspects. It is also about strong psychological support. The coach should support the ethics and morality of the team or each individual in particular. They have to teach us to play and act fairly.
Sure, quantity matters, but quality matters more when it comes to coaching. I can only imagine how much responsibility my trainers feel, so I do my best not to disappoint them. I respect every coach that I used to meet in my life. Each of them has contributed to my personal and professional development. To my mind, every coach is responsible for roughly sixty percent of the athlete’s performance.
- By the way, we want to congratulate you on your latest achievements. They are amazing! Do you feel like you reached the maximum of your abilities?
Thanks. No, sure, I haven’t achieved the maximum that I can lift yet. It is extremely necessary to develop a correct approach to training when teamed up with your personal coach. Avoiding injuries is a critical point as well. That is why it makes sense to do several sets on lighter weight than on heavy.
- What was your lifting record? Can you share?
As I can remember, my record is lifting 340 kg 3 times in a line.
- What do you think: is it possible to make it 500 kg in both lifts in total?
Why not? Moreover, I do not plan to stop on that. I plan to make it through to 505, 510, 520, and up. However, being able to list 500 is my primary goal now, which is rather challenging.
- Do you remember times failing at your training or performances? How do you feel about that?
From time to time, I can fail the entire set while another time it happens with weightlifting. It’s okay to make mistakes. The biggest deal is to carry out some life lessons and keep them in mind. Most of the time, it happens because of the nerves.
It’s critical to have enough sleep the day before your performance. I do not make errors that often, but, each time I do, I do my best to get to the core of the problem and prevent it in the future. I seldom repeat the same mistakes.
- Can you share a couple of personal tips from Lasha Talakhadze?
Do not focus on the entertainment part of the story. To achieve true heights in sports, it’s important to concentrate on your body and the performance itself. Contribute as much time and effort as you can to the sport itself. It has already become the routine life that we’re acquainted with. You can do it just like any of us if you really want it and work hard a lot!
Breaking news! Lasha Talakhadze hits the heaviest Snatch and Clean & Jerk ever!
It’s also necessary to admit that Lasha has broken a new record during the last training. He managed to come up with the most impressive Snatch and C&J ever caught on film; he used to lift 225 kg and 270 kg respectively. It means 495 kg overall. Doesn’t it sound awesome? The two Instagram videos turned the weightlifting world on its head. So, he is almost there with his desired 500-kg record.
Talakhadze is also the favorite of the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo in his weight category. The man strives for the result of 500 kg, which has never been achieved in the entire history of sports. So, how far would it go?
Ihor Shymechko is a renowned Ukrainian weightlifter. He has represented his country in several Olympic Games, notably in 2008, 2012, and 2016. His impressive career includes winning the European championship in 2009 and earning a silver medal in 2011 in the +105 kg division. Shymechko also earned a Ph.D. from Lviv State University of Physical Culture.