Naim Süleymanoğlu | Life, Career & Death

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Naim Süleymanoğlu was a Turkish Olympic weightlifter. He was a seven-time World Weightlifting winner and a three-time Olympic gold medalist, who set multiple world records.

Additionally, he is broadly considered the finest pound-for-pound Olympic weightlifter of all time. Naim is also one of the most prominent Olympic weightlifters ever.

Moreover, in 2000 and 2004, he was elected as a member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.

Naim Süleymanoglu
Naim Süleymanoglu (Source: Biyografya)

Süleymanoğlu is the primary and only weightlifter to have snatched 2.5 times his body weight. In addition, the second of all, the seven lifters could clean and jerk their body weight three times.

Here are some quick facts about the amazing weightlifter:

Naim Süleymanoğlu | Quick Facts

Full Name Naim Süleymanoğlu
Nickname Not Known
Birthdate January 23, 1967
Death Date November 18, 2017
Death place Istanbul, Turkey
Birthplace Pitcher, Kardzhali Province, Bulgaria
Nationality Turkish
Body Bodybuilder
Years Active 1982-2000
Retired 2000
Father Not Known
Mother Not Known
Siblings Not Known
Eye color Black
Hair Colour Brown
Profession Weightlifting
Olympics Participation 1998
Alternative Profession Not Known
Height< 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m)
Weight 62 kg (137 lb) 
Events 56 kg (1983), 60 kg (1985–1992), 64 kg (1993–1996), 62 kg (2000)
Representation Bulgaria 
Relationship Un-Married
Rumored with Kyoto Mori
No. of children 3
Net worth $1 million – $5 million
Social Media Not Available

Naim Süleymanoğlu | Early Life

Süleymanoğlu was born and brought up (Bulgarian: Наим Сюлейманов, romanized: Naim Syuleĭmanov) in Ptichar, Kardzhali Province, Bulgaria, to an ethnic Turkish family.

The father of the weightlifter was a mineworker who stood only five feet tall, while his mother was four-foot-seven.

Naim won many championships in his teens. He was the overwhelming favorite to win gold during the 1984 Summer Olympics. Moreover, Bulgaria had not joined in a boycott by the Eastern Bloc.

In the 1980s, the Bulgarian government implemented a Revival Process program. Thus, the program required ethnic minorities to adopt Slavic names and barred their languages.

As a result, Süleymanoğlu was constrained to alter his name to Naum Shalamanov (Bulgarian: Наум Шаламанов) in 1985. He chose to leave Bulgaria after these experiences and conducted encrypted correspondence with the Turkish Squad during the period.

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Naim Süleymanoğlu | Personality Traits

Suleymanoglu was known for his dramatic skill, as well as for his mental strategy amid competitions.

Agreeing to an author for Searrle Post-Intelligencer, Suleymanglou often sat quietly offstage, passing up his turn to lift. On the contrary, competitors attempted to raise vast amounts of weight to defeat them.

After that, when they were exhausted, Suleymanoglu would stride out on stageask for more weight to be put on the bar, and then lift it easily, beating everyone.

After winning his third gold award in Atlanta, Suleymanoglu resigned from the competition and delighted in his notoriety and riches for many a long time.

As often as possible, he showed up in Turkish daily newspapers, which told outrageous stories about his wild lifestyle.

Be that as it may, in 1999, he decided to create a comeback and compete in the 2000 Olympic Recreations. So, he prepared for a fair over a year, sometime recently the Diversions, trusting to win an uncommon fourth gold award.

Naim Süleymanoğlu | Career

Early Career

To compete in the Seoul Olympics in 1988, the Bulgarian government had to agree to discharge his qualification to Turkey.

Moreover, the Turks paid Bulgaria $1.25 million for his discharge. At the Olympics, his primary competition was his ancient teammate from the Bulgarian group, Stefan Topurov.

He came out for the grab portion of the competition after all other competitors had completed and made three consecutive lifts, setting world records in his final two endeavors.

Topurov finished a 175.0 kg clean and jerk in the clean and jerk parcel after Süleymanoğlu. With his subsequent two lifts, Süleymanoğlu set two more world records and won his, to begin with, Olympic gold.

His final charge was a 190.0 kg clean and jerk that was 3.15 times his body weight, which is the highest proportion of pure and pull to the body weight of all eras.

Using the Sinclair coefficient, the weightlifter’s performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics was the foremost overwhelming weightlifting execution of all time.

Olympic Career

Naim’s total was high enough to win the weight class over his. The weightlifter retired at the age of 22 in the year 1989 after conquering the world championship.

However, Naim returned to the sports in 1991 to win a second Olympic gold medal in 1992 in Barcelona city and the third in Atlanta in 1996.

Naim Süleymanoğlu did his final lifting at Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000.

The Olympic Games of 1996 were to be his swan song, and he resigned after winning a third sequential Olympic gold award in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympic Games.

That competition was famous for the match between him and Greek Valerios Leonidis, with the field isolated into partisan Turkish and Greek crowds.

After the competition, they were the final competitors remaining as they exchanged three straight world-record lifts; Süleymanoğlu has overseen raising 187.5 kg.

After that, Leonidis fizzled in his attempt to lift 190 kilograms, which ensured him the silver award.

Announcer Lynn Jones once proclaimed, “You have just witnessed the greatest weightlifting competition in the entire era,” referring to Ken Jones in the London Independent.

At the 2000 Olympic Recreations in Sydney, Süleymanoğlu made another comeback in a late endeavor to win a fourth gold decoration.

It would have been an Olympic record. But, sadly, Süleymanoğlu fizzled three shots at 145 kg and was eliminated from the competition.

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Naim Süleymanoğlu | Hall of Fame

The weightlifter was also awarded the Olympic Order in the year 2001. He was also elected a member of the Worldwide Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 2000 and 2004.

In the general elections of 1999, he stood as a free candidate. Furthermore, he represented Bursa at the Grand National Gathering held in Turkey.

In the year 2002, Naim was the candidate of the Patriot Development Party for the mayor of Kıraç municipality in the Büyükçekmece district of Istanbul Province.

He represented the same party in general decisions in 2006. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in all these endeavors.

Naim Süleymanoglu | Olympic Gold

At the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, in Georgia, Suleymanoglu fought for the gold medal.

Firstly, the competition was fought by Greek lifter Valerios Leonidas. Thus, they had a very close battle setting world records one after the other.

Furthermore, Suleymanoglu lifted a world record of 185 kg, and Leonidas beat him with 187.5 kg.

Presently the weight was on Suleymanoglu to coordinate Leonidas’s lift for the gold. And he did, tying Leonidas’s world record fair minutes after it was set.

Commentator Lynn Jones said, “You’ve got fair seen the most noteworthy weightlifting competition in history,” agreeing to Insight Jones within the London Free.

Suleymanoglu became the primary weightlifter in history to win gold awards at three diverse Olympics with this gold decoration.

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Naim Süleymanoğlu | Acheivements

  • 1967: Born in Bulgaria(Kigali)
  • 1977: Went to a training school
  • 1982: first world record by Naim
  • 1984: He missed the Olympic Games because of his country’s boycott
  • 1986: Defects from Bulgaria to Turkey
  • 1988: Wins gold medal at Seoul Olympics
  • 1990: Retires but soon returns to competition
  • 1992: Wins gold medal at Barcelona Olympics
  • 1996: Wins gold medal at Atlanta Olympics
  • 2000: He competes in Sydney Olympics but fails in all his attempts to lift
  • 2000: Retires from competition

Naim Süleymanoglu | Life & Relationships

Süleymanoğlu never married. The legendary weightlifter has liver failure caused by cirrhosis. As a result, he was admitted to an Istanbul hospital. Then he died at age 50.

However, he does have four children, all daughters. Although the details about their birth and mothers aren’t known, Naim is their father. 

His daughters are: Esin Süleymanoğlu, Sezin Süleymanoğlu, Nilay Süleymanoğlu, and Sekai Mori. Although Sekai Mori wasn’t considered one of his children before 2018, some DNA tests showed that she is indeed the late champion’s daughter. 

The athlete was nicknamed “Pocket Hercules” due to his short stature personality. Finally, he became a global personality after winning six world championship records, bringing home three Olympic gold awards.

Not only that, he gained popularity by lifting the legendary winner of the weight class above him at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Then he got retired at the age of 22 after winning the world championship in 1988.

Naim Süleymanoglu | Death & Aftermath Controversy

However, he had cirrhosis of the liver for a long time. Finally, in 2009, he was in the clinic for about three months.

On October 6, he went through liver transplantation when a liver donor was found. After that, on November 11, he had surgery due to bleeding within the brain and subsequent edema.

Naim Süleymanoglu Grave
Naim Süleymanoglu Grave (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Therefore, he passed on November 18, 2017. He was buried at the Edirnekapı Martyr’s Cemetery in Istanbul.

After his passing, a motion picture about his life and career, Cep Herkülü: Naim Süleymanoğlu. Finally, the movie was released in Turkey on November 22, 2019.

A Japanese lady claimed after his passing that she had a girl Sekai Mori with him. She then recorded a paternity case at a Turkish court.

Consequently, Süleymanoğlu’s grave was opened on July 4, 2018, to require a DNA sample. Likewise, a DNA test affirmed her claim. He moreover had three girls with a Turkish woman.

Naim Süleymanoglu | Net worth

The weightlifter has also built an impressive wealth amount through all his years throughout his career.

In addition, since the start of his career, Naim has had a net worth ranging from $1 Million – $5 Million. Thus, he is one of the most wealthy athletes. Hence, his expected net worth is over $5 million.

Subsequently, he earns more than a million as an annual salary. Besides that, the athlete made a fair amount through his sponsorship deals.

As a result, many well-known brands and companies frequently endorse the player. 

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

How did Naim Süleymanoğlu die?

Bulgarian-born Süleymanoğlu, the humble “pocket Hercules,” passed away in November 2018, a month after experiencing liver transplant surgery. The 50-year-old had been suffering from cirrhosis for a long time.

Who is known as Pocket Hercules?

Naim Suleymanoglu, a Turkish weight lifter whose minute estimate and shocking quality earned him the nickname Pocket Hercules on his way to winning three continuous Olympic gold awardspassed on Saturday in Istanbul.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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