Leonid Zhabotinsky

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameLeonid Ivanovich•Zhabotinsky
Used nameLeonid•Zhabotinsky
Original nameЛеонид Иванович•Жаботинский
Other namesLeonid Ivanovych Zhabotynskiy, Леонід Іванович Жаботинський
Born28 January 1938 in Uspenka, Sumy (UKR)
Died14 January 2016 in Zaporizhzhia, Zaporizhzhia (UKR)
Measurements189 cm / 163 kg
NOC Soviet Union
Nationality Ukraine
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Leonid Zhabotynsky took over the title “The World’s Strongest Man” from Yury Vlasov in 1964. Vlasov was heavily favored to defend his Olympic title in 1964 at Tokyo, but Zhabotynsky defeated him by breaking the world record in the clean & jerk and also claimed the World title. Before the Olympics, Zhabotynsky had always lost to Vlasov in every head-to-head competition, winning bronze at the 1963 World and silver at the 1963 European Championships. Zhabotynsky had also taken three consecutive silver medals at the Soviet championships behind Vlasov, but won the Soviet title in 1964 in Vlasov’s absence. Zhabotynsky followed his 1964 Olympic victory with victories at the World Championships in 1965 and 1966 and then defended his Olympic title in 1968, which also counted as a World title. He also won European Championships in 1966 and 1968, won the Soviet title in 1965 and 1967-69 and the Soviet Cup in 1973. Zhabotynsky, who took up weightlifting in 1956 after being a competent shot putter, was less impressive against the record book than some other super-heavyweight World Champions, but he did post 19 world records one in the press, 16 in the clean & jerk, and two in the total. He had a very long career as a weightlifter as he set his last world record, 185½ kg. in the clean & jerk, on 21 February 1974.

Zhabotynsky graduated from the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute in 1964 and received a candidate of pedagogy degree in 1970. After finishing his sporting career Zhabotynsky worked as a weightlifting coach with the Soviet Army and retired from the force in 1991 as a colonel. From 1987-91 Zhabotynsky worked in Madagascar, being a military consultant to the local government as well as head coach of the Madagascar national weightlifting team. In 1991, after retiring from the Army, Zhabotynsky started to work as a pro-rector of the Moscow Institute of Business and Law, one of the first private higher education facilities in Russia.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1964 Summer Olympics Weightlifting URS UKR Leonid Zhabotinsky
Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1968 Summer Olympics Weightlifting URS UKR Leonid Zhabotinsky
Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Other participations

Games Role NOC Nationality As
1968 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony URS UKR Leonid Zhabotinsky