One of the greatest Bulgarian athletes turns 60 today. Olympic weightlifting champion Asen Zlatev is celebrating his anniversary shortly after publishing the first part of his autobiography, The Way of the Wanderer.He was born on May 23, 1960 in the Plovdiv village of Tsarimir. Left without a father, his mother sought help to raise him and the then goalkeeper of the football club “Botev” (Plovdiv) – Mikhail Karushkov, offered her to enroll him in the local sports school. He was accepted with the highest score, and even then teachers and coaches see in his perfect physique and his strong character a future champion.
He left for the Olympics in Moscow when he was only 20 years old and with the assets of only one European title, won months before the Games. There he presented the big surprise by winning the epic battle with the great favorite of the hosts from the USSR Alexander the First and the other very strong Bulgarian at that time – Nedelcho Kolev. Our hero overthrew the great Russian hero and recorded one of the most beautiful victories in our Olympic history. The media immediately published headlines: “Zlatev made First – Second”.
Assen was only 20 years old when he celebrated at the Olympic summit in Moscow in 1980, but after this triumph for 12 years, fate unhappily deprived him of the opportunity to win 3 more consecutive titles: because of the boycott of Los Angeles in 1984, then because of the returned barbell team from Seoul 1988 and finally due to a sudden high temperature on the day of the checklist for determining the composition for Barcelona 1992.
Meanwhile, Zlatev has won 3 world and 5 European titles, and in his showcase he arranges a total of 15 medals from major championships. These are distinctions only in the matches, and in total with these movements the medals are over 40… He has been the captain of the national team for nine years. He finished his sports career as a playing coach in Germany.
Three other important facts in Zlatev’s life: he has never had a doping problem, there is no “zero” in any official competition, something rare for a world-class weightlifter with hundreds of participations, and yet – he has no injuries in his competition. To this day, he keeps fit every morning with the barbell in the gym.
Asen Zlatev – a giant with the look of a fighter and the iron will of an invincible champion.
Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation and the team of Plovdiv24.bg congratulate the anniversary of Asen Zlatev and wish him good health, strength and success.