Weightlifting Legend Yuri Vardanyan Dies at 62

Armenia’s legendary weightlifter Yuri Vardanyan has died today at the age of 62, the ministry of sports and youth affairs told ARMENPRESS.

The cause of death is not being reported yet.

Vardanyan died in the United States, where he was living.

As a weightlifter, Vardanyan reached numerous heights by winning World and European championships throughout late 1970s through the 1980s. He won gold at the 1980 summer Olympics He earned the title Honored Master of Sports of the USSR in 1977 and was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1985. In 1994 he was elected member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.

He became the world’s first weightlifter to achieve a 400 kilogram total in the 82.5 kg weight category.

In 1985 alone, he set 43 world records.

Years later after retiring from sports, he began a career in politics.

In 2009, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan appointed Yuri Vardanyan as his advisor. After four years in office, he was appointed minister of sports and youth affairs, a position he held only for a year. He was later appointed Ambassador of Armenia to Georgia in 2014 and served until 2017.