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Schwarzenegger’s weightlifting idol dies aged 77

Schwarzenegger’s weightlifting idol dies aged 77

KIEV: Ukrainian heavyweight weightlifter Leonid Zhabotinsky, an idol of Arnold Schwarzenegger who won two Olympic gold medals and set multiple world records while competing for the Soviet Union, died on Thursday at the age of 77.

Zhabotinsky first won the title of “The World’s Strongest Man” at the 1964 Games in Tokyo at the age of 26 before defending it in Mexico City in 1968.

Know as “Big Zhabo”, Zhabotinsky was impressively built, weighting 165 kilogrammes (365 pounds) and standing 1.89 meters (6 feet 2 inches) tall.

He was a personal hero and friend of Schwarzenegger, an Austrian bodybuilder who made his name in Hollywood before gaining US citizenship and becoming mayor of California. Schwarzenegger once praised the Ukrainian for “creating the foundation” for his own career.

Zhabotinsky died of undisclosed causes in Zaporizhia, an industrial city in southeastern Ukraine, local authorities said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2016

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