SULEYMANOGLU Naim (1967) Turkey / Weightlifting
This weight lifter was, despite his diminutive size, the greatest champion of his generation.He started his Olympic career, wearing the Bulgarian colours and with the name Shalamonov, by winning a title in Seoul in 1988. Since then Suleymanoglu has taken advantage of the raising of the iron curtain. He fled Bulgaria to settle in Australia and became a Turkish citizen.Then Suleymanoglu achieved the double feat of keeping the Olympic title he won in Korea first in Barcelona in 1992 and again in Atlanta four years later, the first time in the 60 kg featherweight category, the second in the 64 kg category. In Georgia he even added a world record to his third gold medal.Meanwhile the diminutive Hercules - he is only 1.50 m tall - has set many new world records in the snatch and lean-and-jerk. He is now a rich man. After having spent several months looking after Bulgarian refugees, Naim Suleymanoglu started training for the Sydney games. He could have one his fourth gold medal, but he committed a tactical error, due to over-confidence, in asking to start with weights that were heavier than the world record - little surprise that he was't able to lift it, then. The man who held 46 world records thus left the Olympic stage on a miserable failure.