Georgian Dito Shanidze was the best Soviet featherweight weightlifter in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Shanidze competed in gymnastics before taking up weightlifting in 1957, but was not noticed by the Soviet sports officials until he won silver at the 1968 Soviet championships. He was selected to the Soviet national team and, in the same year, won silver at the 1968 Olympics, as well as the World and European Championships. Shanidze repeated the silver medal victory at the 1972 Olympics and was the 1973 World and 1972-73 European Champion. His other medals at major international tournaments were silver at the 1972 and bronze at the 1969 World Championships and silver at the 1969, 1971 and 1974 European Championships. Domestically, in addition to his 1968 silver medal, Shanidze was the Soviet champion from 1969-74 and set two featherweight total world records.