With the new heavyweight class added internationally in 1969, the unlimited class was now for lifters weight 110 kg or more, as the lifters were getting bigger and bigger. Soviet Leonid Zhabotinsky had won this division in 1964-68 but was now retired. His successor was Vasily Alekseyev, who won the 1970 and 1971 World Championships. His biggest challengers were considered to be Belgian Serge Reding, the 1968 silver medalist and 1969 World Champion, and American Ken Patera, runner-up to Alekseyev at the 1971 Worlds. Reding failed to make a valid lift in the press, and Patera met the same fate in the snatch, leaving Alekseyev with no competition. He won the gold medal with a 30 kg margin over West German Rudolf Mang, with East German Gerd Bonk in third place. Alekseyev would return at Montréal in 1976 and defend the gold medal. He tried to win a third gold medal in 1980, but missed his three snatch attempts in Moskva.