Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Lasha Talakhadze extends longest reign in history as world’s strongest man

Lasha Talakhadze

TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN - DECEMBER 17: Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze competes at men’s 109 kg category during 2021 World Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on December 17, 2021. Talakhadze won the gold medal. (Photo by Anvar Ilyasov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia won a record-breaking ninth global title in weightlifting’s super heavyweight division, marking the longest reign in history as the world’s strongest man.

At the world championships on Sunday, Talakhadze, 29, lifted 220 kilograms (485 pounds) in the snatch and 253 kilograms (557 pounds) in the clean and jerk for a total of 473 kilograms (1,042 pounds).

He prevailed by 13 kilograms (28 pounds) over Varazdat Lalayan of Armenia and improved on his winning total from last year by seven kilograms.

“The others are closing in on Lasha,” said Talakhadze’s coach, Giorgi Asanidze, according to the International Weightlifting Federation. “The standard he showed today will not be enough anymore. He was not at his very best here, but the only thing that mattered today was for him to be champion again. He will have to regain top form next time.”

Last year, Talakhadze said a doctor advised him to lose weight after a very minor heart irregularity was detected. Then at 367 pounds, he weighed 35 fewer pounds in 2022 than he did in 2021, according to the IWF. He was back up to 391 points at these worlds.

Talakhadze has won every Olympic and world title dating to 2015 (two Olympic golds, seven world titles) since returning from a two-year ban for testing positive for the steroid stanozolol.

He broke his tie for the longest super heavyweight global title streak that he shared with Soviet legend and Sports Illustrated cover star Vasily Alekseyev, who won every Olympic and world title from 1970 through 1977.

Talakhadze holds the world records for heaviest lifts in the snatch (225 kilograms or 496 pounds) and clean and jerk (266 kilograms or 588 pounds), set in 2021.

Next year, Talakhadze can tie the record of three Olympic weightlifting gold medals.