Exclusive Interview with Olympic Champion in Weightlifting

Lasha Talakhadze, a 22-year-old Georgian, recently won Gold in the Rio Olympic Games, losing a world record for snatch but setting a new one for total (473kg). He has been training, as per his family’s tradition, almost half his life, following in the footsteps of his father before him. GEORGIA TODAY got a chance to meet him.

Your dad was a well-known weightlifter of his time. How much has he helped you in your sporting career?

He helped me a lot. He was a very strong athlete himself – winner of medals and other awards.

You are in a perfect physical shape. How rigid is your day-to-day regime? What does your working day look like?

Weightlifting is a huge part of my very busy life. I’m in training day in, day out which practically leaves no time for me to relax- sport totally dominates my life.

You did all six movements of the Olympic event without much strain. Why did you and your coach not order higher weights? The Iranian athlete beat your world record by just one kilo. Do you regret your choice?

I don’t regret anything. These things happen in sporting life on a regular basis. The weights we ordered were optimal – the result talks volumes about that. Didn’t I overpower the greatest Persian weightlifter? What matters is that all my new world records and my Olympic Gold are in place.

What is it that you most like to do aside from weightlifting?

I love to spend my free time with my family, which I adore.

You have impressed the public with your wits, not only with your physical strength. How did you manage to do this?

I love reading. Often, at sport collective sessions, I read books. I always have a couple in my backpack.

Where did you go to high school and college? Do you work to make money?

I graduated from high school in western Georgia and then continued my education in a special college of physical education and sports where I majored in coaching skills. I have a plan to deepen my education in the future.

You have achieved all you could in sports. What is the next stage of your sporting dream?

I’ve got all the titles I could earn so far but I want to appear in almost every high-level competition in the world.

Do you ever smoke or drink alcohol?

Never! And I never will. That said, I wouldn’t say no to a glass of a good wine on special occasions. But that’s all!

Are you thinking of getting married any time soon? Or would marriage get in the way of future sports triumphs for you?

I have no special plans or thoughts in that direction because sport is first place in my life right now.

Nugzar B. Ruhadze and Giorgi Chanishvili

25 August 2016 20:15