David Rigert

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David Rigert
David Rigert in 2015.jpg
David Rigert holds his prizes during the awards ceremony in Rostov-on-Don, 2015.
Personal information
Full nameDavid Adamovich Rigert
Born (1947-03-12) March 12, 1947 (age 71)
Nagornoye, Kokchetav Oblast, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union

David Adamovich Rigert (Russian: Давид Ада́мович Ри́герт; born 12 March 1947 in the village of Nagornoye, Kokchetav Oblast, Kazakh SSR) was an Olympic weightlifter for the Soviet Union. Rigert became one of the greatest weightlifters in history. He is of German ancestry.[1]

Family and early years[edit]

Rigert was the son of the Russian-German Adam Adamowitsch Rigert and Jelisaweta Rudolfowna Horn. His grandfather Adam Rigert worked at the estate of Baron Rudolf Horn, an officer of the czar. Baron Horn's daughter Lisbeth married Adam Rigert's son Adam.

During World War II his father was brought to the Ural Mountains as forced laborer together with other Russia-Germans and his mother and children were brought to North Kazakhstan. David and his siblings grew up in Kuban territory near the Caucasus.


Rigert began practicing weightlifting on his own in 1966, using the training methods of former Soviet weightlifting champion Arkady Vorobyov. Two years later, while serving in the Soviet army, Rigert earned the title Master of Sports of the USSR. After demobilization he lived and trained in Armavir. In 1969 he met the famous Soviet coach Michael Rudolf Plukfelder, who invited him to Shakhty, where Rigert began training at Trud Voluntary Sports Society under Plukfelder. Just 11 months later, in 1970, Rigert made the USSR national team and debuted internationally, earning the bronze at the World Championships. In 1971 at the RSFSR Championships, Rigert set his first World record.[2] Thus began an extraordinary series of 68 World records which were overshadowed only by fellow countryman and weightlifter Vasiliy Alekseyev's achievements.

After a disappointing performance at the 1972 Summer Olympics, in 1973 Rigert won in all competitions he participated, setting eight World records. He won in all World and European Championships between 1973 and 1976, and earned the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics.[2] Despite these and other brilliant achievements during his career as a weightlifter, his final performance was disappointing: scoring zero at the 1980 Summer Olympics. A possible cause was Rigert's transfer to a lighter weight class, from his favorite "under 100 kg" category to "under 90 kg".

After finishing his career, Rigert moved to Rostov and later to Taganrog. He coached, studied at The Moscow Institute of Physical Culture, manufactured weights for weightlifting competitions and built some 100 sport facilities in Taganrog. He also created a weightlifting center in Taganrog and coached the Russian National Team. In 2004 Rigert was elected deputy of the Taganrog City Council (Duma), and in March 2009 Rigert was reelected deputy of the Taganrog Duma, representing the United Russia political party. Honorary citizen of Taganrog, Grozny and Chornomorsk.[3]

Rigert was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1976.

In 1999 he was elected member of the International Weightlifting Federation hall of fame.[4]

Weightlifting achievements[edit]

  • Olympic gold medalist (1976)
  • Senior world champion (1971, 1973–1976, 1978);
  • Bronze medalist at Senior World Championships (1970);
  • European champion (1971–1976, 1978–1980);
  • Set sixty-eight world records during career;
  • National team coach for the USSR/Russia.1985-1986 (2nd to Bulgaria),2007–


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Paul (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: The Clash Between Sport and Politics – With a Complete Review of Jewish Olympic Medalists. Sussex Academic Press.
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "Weightlifting Hall of Fame". International Weightlifting Federation. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-07.

External links[edit]