Turkish ‘Pocket Hercules’ Shatters 3 World Records
Naim Suleymanoglu, the “Pocket Hercules” who defected from Bulgaria in 1986, stole the show at the Olympics today, shattering three of his world records to win the 132-pound division and give Turkey its first Olympic gold medal in two decades.
The diminutive powerhouse, standing just 4 feet, 9 inches, lifted a record-setting total of 755.07 pounds to live up to his nickname and easily outclass his opponents.
Weightlifting officials quickly called his performance one of the greatest in Olympic history.
Suleymanoglu shared the limelight today with the Soviet men’s gymnastics team, which romped away with a gold medal after scoring seven perfect marks.
The American team--the defending champions--finished in 11th place.
World all-round champion Dmitri Bilozerchev helped carry his team to a victory at 593.350 points--more than 10 ahead of silver medalists East Germany--by scoring the maximum 10 points in three of six events.
Under Special Guard
Suleymanoglu defected to Turkey from Bulgaria two years ago and is under special guard at the Seoul Games because he fears that he might be kidnaped. He snatched 331.79 pounds to break the world mark by just over a pound and then followed with a snatch of 336.19.
He later twice broke his own world record for the jerk, lifting 415.56 pounds and then 418.87, to set two world marks for total lift of 751.76 pounds and 755.07. He held all the previous marks.
After each record-breaking lift, he punched the air with his fist and came out for encore bows.
Suleymanoglu attributed his strength to the people of Turkey, his ancestral homeland.
‘They Are Watching Me’
“The source of my power comes from the 6 million people in Turkey and knowing they are watching me make world records at the Olympics,” he said.
Americans picked up two gold medals today in the demonstration sport of taekwondo. Lynnette Love of Detroit beat South Korean Jan Yoon Jung in the heavyweight division of the martial arts competition, giving the American women three gold. Jimmy Kim of Cerritos, Calif., won the men’s heavyweight division over another South Korean, Kim Jong Suk.
In other developments, two simmering Olympic disputes were settled today.
Arab countries accepted an explanation by the South Korean organizers that the identification of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during Saturday’s opening ceremony was accidental. The organizers promised that the mistake would not be repeated during the closing ceremony Oct. 2.
The Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee also promised to cut food lines and improve the menu in the athletes’ village. The move followed complaints, led by West Germany, that nearly 10,000 athletes were being fed lukewarm and fatty meals.