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Imre Földi

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Title: Imre Földi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of World Championships medalists in weightlifting (men), 1970 World Weightlifting Championships, Weightlifting at the 1972 Summer Olympics – Men's 56 kg, 1969 World Weightlifting Championships, List of world records in Olympic weightlifting
Collection: 1938 Births, Hungarian Weightlifters, Living People, Male Weightlifters, Olympic Gold Medalists for Hungary, Olympic Medalists in Weightlifting, Olympic Weightlifters of Hungary, People from Kecskemét, Weightlifters at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Weightlifters at the 1964 Summer Olympics, Weightlifters at the 1968 Summer Olympics, Weightlifters at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Weightlifters at the 1976 Summer Olympics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Imre Földi

Imre Földi
Imre Földi, Aleksey Vakhonin and Shiro Ichinoseki at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Nationality Hungarian
Born (1938-05-08) 8 May 1938
Kecskemét, Hungary
Occupation Locksmith[1]
Height 1.50 m (4 ft 11 in)[1]
Weight 56 kg (123 lb)[1]
Country Hungary
Sport Weightlifting
Club Tatabányai Bányász
Turned pro 1955
Retired 1978
Updated on 23 August 2014.

Imre Földi (Hungarian pronunciation: ; born 8 May 1938) is a Hungarian weightlifter, Olympic and World champion. Competing at a record of five Olympic Games, he won the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.[2] and received silver medals in 1964 and 1968. During his active career he set several national and world records, while after his retirement he coached his daughter to win 16 European titles.

Földi earned numerous awards for his results and achievements, most notably he was named Weightlifter of the Century by the International Weightlifing Federation and was elected for Sportsperson of the Nation in Hungary.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Later life and recognition 3
  • References 4

Early life

Born in Kecskemét, Hungary, Földi lived in his hometown until he turned 17 as a half-orphan after he lost his mother in World War II. Subsequently, he moved to Tata to work as a hewer. His outstanding power was soon noticed and he became a weightlifter of Tatabányai Bányász. In the same time, thanks to his coach's influence he was not allowed to work down in the mine anymore to prevent him from possible mining accidents.[3]


Originally he wanted to be a wrestler and his advisors suggested to start a less dangerous work, not miner. He started as a machinist trainee. A little later he lost a finger and that is the time he began his weightlifting training. In the miner school his nickname was JOHNNY a name from a Russian Movie about a wrestler, who in the final beat the American. The title of that movie was VILAGBAJNOK. (World Champion) I was in that school too but not in his school class, he was in the two-year course while I was in the three-year group, being a year younger than Johnny. The name of that miner school was "311th Vajartanulo Intezet"in the city of TATA. Földi first participated at miners' championships and in 1957 he already won his first Hungarian National Championships title.[3] Two years later he took part at his first major international event, the 1959 World Weightlifting Championships, where finishied third in bantamweight, beginning a long series of podium results. He won his first title at the 1962 European Championships, held in front of a home crowd in Budapest. Until 1971 he added four more golds to his medals tally (1963, 1968, 1970, 1971).[1]

After winning three World Championships silver medals in a row, Földi finally became World Champion in 1965, an achievement he repeated in 1972. He participated at his first Olympics in 1960, where he finished sixth.[1] This was followed by two close silver medals. In 1964 he fell short to Aleksey Vakhonin after a dramatic battle. Földi had a lead of 2.5 kg after snatch and clean and press and when set a new world record in clean and jerk (135 kg) he was already celebrated as winner. However, Vakhonin lifted 142.5 kg thus beating Földi by 2.5 kg and pushing him to the second place.[4]

Four year later at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City Földi came even closer to the gold, losing only on body weight – both him and his opponent Mohammad Nassiri ended with an overall result of 367.5 kg, which was a new World Record, however, Nassiri was 300 grams lighter thus he was awarded the Olympic title.[5][6]

Földi eventually reached the top in 1972 when he won the Olympic gold medal – and doubled it as a World Championships title – in front of his main opponent Nassiri. In the press, both Földi and Nassiri lifted 127.5 for a tied Olympic Record. In the snatch, Földi raised 107.5 and built up a slight advantage ahead of Nassiri (105.0 kg). In his first clean & jerk, Nassiri raised 142.5 kg, 5 kg better than Földi. He next tried to clean 152.5 kg to get in front, however, he failed both of his remaining attempts. Földi, on the other, hand lifted 142.5 as well, setting an overall World Record with 377.5 kg and winining the gold.[7]

Földi made his final Olympic appearance in 1976 in Montreal, where he became the first weightlifter to compete in five Olympics, a record that would only be matched by Germans Ingo Steinhofel and Ronny Weller 28 years later.[8] Aged 38, he could not repeat his previous successes and finished in the fifth place. Following an injury next year he ended his career, during which he set 20 World Records and 50 National Records[9] and collected 13 Hungarian national titles.[1][3]

Later life and recognition

After his retirement, Földi remained loyal to Tatabánya, his only club during his active career, and took a coaching position. His daughter, Csilla Földi became a 16-times European champion weightlifter under his hands, and won as many Hungarian national titles as well.[3]

Földi's achievements were recognized already during his career, as he was awarded the Silver Badge of the Order of Labour, an order in the Communist Hungary in 1962 and 1964. In 1972, the year he became Olympic champion, he was given the Golden Badge of the Order of Labour. In 1993 he was inducted to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.[10] In the same year he was awarded the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, just to receive the Officer's Cross of the same decoration a year later.[11]

In 2000 he was voted Weightlifter of the Century in Hungary, and in 2005 he earned the same recognition of the International Weightlifting Federation as well. In 2003 he became honorary citizen of Tatabánya, and since 2009 the local sports hall also bears his name.[11] In 2013 the Imre Földi Sports Scholarship was created in order to support Tatabánya-based top athletes.[9]

On 31 January 2007, following the death of Ferenc Puskás, Földi was elected a Sportsperson of the Nation (A Nemzet Sportolója), a special honor, that can have only 12 people at a time, is awarded for those of Hungarian sportspeople over 60, who produced outstanding achievements during their active career and played a key role in the domestic sports after their retirement as well.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f
  2. ^ "1972 Summer Olympics – Munich, Germany – Weightlifting" – (Retrieved on February 20, 2008)
  3. ^ a b c d
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  9. ^ a b
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  11. ^ a b
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