- Zygmunt Smalsers, the 1972 Olympic champion, is still in good shape. It’s even worse with his favorite sport
- Smallers rates the chances of weightlifting remaining in the Olympic program at half and a half due to doping problems. -It’s too much. I’m sorry . .. – He says
- The champion stresses the need to combat doping in this area and proposes several reforms in the regulations
- More information can be found at Przegląd Sportowy Onet
Camille Wolnicki: Coach, what’s going on?
Zygmunt Smallsers: You might be asking about weightlifting, but the sound is bad or very bad.
Will weights be dropped from the Olympic program?
I think the chances are half and half. There are still incidents of doping. One of Georgia’s best players is at risk, and Turkey has withdrawn from the European Championship scheduled for February next year because it also suffers from doping problems. In this regard, it is tragic. No one understands that there is only one way: anti-doping.
Continued article below the video
Smallsers had no doubt. “The situation is dangerous and difficult”
I know opinions that say this is always the case with weights.
I’m not always sure, but for a very long time. After the 1972 Olympics, I had about ten or twelve meetings on television, and we talked about everything, but nothing went in the right direction. Weights are not the first discipline in the world in this matter, but they are definitely among the leaders. The situation is dangerous and difficult. I think it’s true that the 50% I gave for keeping the weights at the Olympics is too much. I’m sorry…
It’s sad, because weightlifting is a piece of sports history.
It is one of the most beautiful sports disciplines, although it needs changes, even systems. If there are 5,000 people sitting in the stands and people don’t know why the attempt failed, it’s tragic. However, the world’s weightlifting leaders do not see the need to make radical moves. Often, less advanced competitors start at the beginning of the competition and use two-minute rest periods. Nothing happens on the sidewalk after that. Regulations must change in this regard.
Similar to the rule that allows the competitor to withdraw from the next attempt and force his opponent to make an immediate approach, which must be done within one minute. In fact, it is physically impossible to lift more than 200kg and then do it again in one minute. This doesn’t give you a chance to fight fair play. Can you imagine that?! These are the regulations that put the entire discipline on its toes.
They talk about changes, but that is not enough. I have thousands of ideas for reforms, but I have no opportunity to participate in these bodies because, as you can see, I am still on the sidelines. Other activists in Poland are not very active in the international forum. When in 2022 I was a member of the Technical Committee of the World Weightlifting Federation and I introduced a rule that I had been fighting for for three years. The point is that you can change your approach by a kilogram, not by 2.5 kilograms as before, because that was an obstacle to developing the discipline. This revolutionized the discipline. We expect such thoughts.
In short: Weightlifting is dying, Mr. Zygmunt.
Sometimes it is possible to revive a dying person and bring them back to life. I think there is still a chance.
The last World Cup was an ‘absolute disaster’
Is there an opportunity to lift Polish weightlifters? The last World Cup was a disaster.
Certainly a disaster. They took me there as a consultant, and a lot of the team was at odds with the coach. I got into it, I sorted it out, but it’s not enough. You only have to practice twice. If an athlete goes to such a competition, fails the snatch and does not perform in the clean and jerk, it is a tragedy. Such examples say that we need a general change in perspective about training, responsibilities and everything! I have presented to the President a “35-point program to reform the Republic of Trucks,” but I do not think they are ready to implement it. This is what it looks like. One of the basic solutions is to create a school sports championship in Spala, because everything is ready there and the school is working. The positions we have… If the players there are not making progress, it means they are not working at the right level. Well, no one wants to deal with them because they are votes in elections.
How do you live, Mr. Zygmunt?
It’s great, I’m enjoying life.
Are you always in good shape and do squats and push-ups every day?
I squat less because I recently had surgery to remove osteophytes from my legs. But I do more pull-ups. I’ll be twenty. Few athletes perform pull-ups multiple times. And when it comes to ab exercises, they don’t stand a chance against me! I’m the hero here. Of course we talk in a friendly way, and I joke a little, because when I think about my burdens… I’ll tell you something else. We are already lost at the selection stage and are looking for players with inappropriate standards that will not allow them to reach championship level. However, you can benefit from many years of experience! The knowledge of coaches seems to depend on different criteria. Later, some points will be decided regarding the clubs’ finances. All this in Poland casts a shadow on the training process.
On the board with Zofia Klepka
Why don’t Polish weightlifters want to use your knowledge?
This is not a question for me. Wherever I start work, I finish with very good results. I consider myself one of the best specialists in this sport in the world. I think they are afraid of the competition or the place I should get in Poland. The 2016 Federation President elections showed that I am not accepted here.
In recent years I worked in the United States, then in Norway. Are you still drawn to the world?
Maybe less than going out into the world… wherever I am and then coming back, it’s an unimaginable shock. I got off at the airport and immediately someone said, “Hello, Mr. Smallsers.” I have to be here where people know me and appreciate me. There’s always someone who does something, for some money, and that’s it, and then they say hello. They reward me with titles and different things, for example in the United States I received one of the highest honors. Few people know that I not only trained weightlifters there, but also prepared an athlete to participate in the Winter Olympics in bobsleigh, and she won a bronze medal. However, I feel better at home, in Poland.
I’ve been talking for some time about surfing trips to Bok Bay.
While at the training camp in Władysławowo, I met Zofia Klepacka, who, knowing my interests in sailing, told me that she would help me get back in shape on a surfboard, and we arranged a meeting. When I got home, I examined the sail and found that the moths had not eaten it. I am getting older, all processes are imposed by age. The end will come someday.
We hope it’s as late as possible, Mr. Zygmunt!
We hope that there will be better times for weightlifting, not only in Poland. It is unfortunate that Waldemar Baszanowski, who had a vision similar to mine and wanted to change the regulations when he was EU president, died years ago. There were only a few people with him. Well, it’s been a very long time, and everything is still up in the air. Something needs to be done to make people want to watch this discipline again. The stands were full at the last European Championship, but the World Championship… it was a tragedy, it was empty, there was no one, no atmosphere. Yes, nothing will come of it.
source:Onet Sports Review
Date of creation: Today at 07:00
Journalist for the newspaper Przeglad Sportuy One
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