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Serge Reding

I noticed that many people are still talking about Serge Reding, but it seems to be rather difficult to find websites about this legend.  Many older weightlifters in the world can tell great stories about him, but where else then in Belgium can you find  that many former colleague lifters and fans. I have never seen him in real life (he died in shortly after I was born) but as a Belgian who grow up in the weightlifting world  I have many first hand information (my own father has been in training with Serge Reding) and I thought I'd better write the information down before everything is lost.  

Name : Serge REDING

Date of Birth : 23/12/1941 in Auderghem

Died:
28/6/1975  in Manilla (Phillipines)
at the age of  34

Occupation :
Librarian in the national library

Category :
Super heavy weight.
His bodyweight went up to +140 kg!

Length :  
172 cm (5' 8")
Serge Reding
 Introduction

 

Reding was known for his huge muscularity.

 

If you study the pictures and if you look at his bodyweight compared with his length then it 's obvious that he's one of the most gigantic weightlifters ever.

 

Some body measurements I found:

 

Chest: 142 cm

Waist: 120 cm

Hips: 122 cm

Thighs: 79 cm

Arms: 52 cm

Neck: 50 cm

Calves: 51 cm

measurement around his shoulders: 165 cm

Shoe size: 43.

 

Many people are convinced that Serge Reding, the incredibly massive Belgian weighlifter, was physically capable of beating Alexeyev.

He broke several of Alexeyev's records in minor contests and many felt he would be the next champion. But every time he went head to head against Alexeyev he seemed to choke and failed to duplicate his record lifts.

 

I have been talking to several international lifters who confirm that Serge was certainly the strongest of that time. Even Alexeyev used to state that Reding was the strongest man in the world at the time.

But he always said that he had the stronger mind and that he would defeat Reding every time (what he actually mostly did).

 

I will put some of his verified  training and competition results in the future.

 

My father saw him do 2 reps with 180 kg seated neck-press, starting out of the neck.

 

In squatting I know about easy 330 kg squats but some people claim  to have seen even more spectacular results but these could also be exaggerated.  Some people tell they saw him  him do full squats during the early 1970s for 5 reps with 400kg without wraps, suit or belt.

Reding was born December 23, 1941 in Auderghem (Brussels).

He was actually born as Serge Yvan Arthur Gérard . Gérard was the name of his unmarried mother Adeline Gérard and his father was unknown. His parents were originally from the Belgian Ardennes (Herbeumont) and Serge spent most of his childhood in this region.   

When Ernest Reding married Adeline he adopted Serge and gave him his name. Serge had a very good relation with his stepfather and when his 'parents' divorced later, Serge choose to live with his father in Brussels.

 

When he was about 16 year he had his first contact weightlifting training. But he really started weightlifting in 1959, at the age of  18, when he entered the weightlifting club in Schaerbeeck His bodyweight was already 90 kg (198 lbs) at that time (length 172 cm).  After 3 months training under Mr. Wittenbol, his first coach in weightlifting, he entered his first competition.  He made a modest total of 230 kg with 70 kg press, 70 kg snatch and 90 kg jerk.

 

In 1961  he was in the military service and competed in his first national championships but ended last. Shortly after this results he progressed a lot  and took the national records.

 

 

  Biography
During these last Championships he met the Manilan waitress Yvonne Solidum and fell in love with her. In the following period he traveled a lot between Belgium and the Philippines. In the beginning of 1975 he spent 3 months, without training  in Manila with the woman he loved.
Then the terrible news came that he died in Manila. at the age of 34 (28th of June 1975) from a hart-attack.  

His unusual appearance and even more remarkable love story lead to many rumours in the Belgian press. They talked about a death under mysterious circumstances with even suicide and murder as possibilities. However, officially and most likely he died of a hart attack caused by a thrombosis.

This congenial exceptional Belgian weightlifter remains a legend all over the world.
He started working in the national library in 1964.
In 1964 he also participated in his first Olympic Games and became 10th in these Tokyo games.  

After these Olympic games Serge wanted to train more professional to get closer to the world top. In his search he met André Dupont, who became his new trainer.

During a training camp in Poland in 1966 he met his first wife, Ewa Cernewska.
Serge experienced a difficult time in his personal life when she left him and when his stepfather died not so long after. He stopped training 4 months in 1967 and it disturbed his preparation for the 1968 Olympics a bit but nonetheless he achieved a historical result there with his silver medal.
The silver medal in the Mexico1968 Olympics brought him a real star image in Belgium.
He became very popular and was all over the media.
In 1969 he earned the national trophy for best sportsmen ("nationale trofee voor sportverdienste"). (In 1968 and 1970 he finished in the runner up positions of this election.)

Serge was well prepared and ready for at least another silver medal in the Munchen Olympics from 1972. On the day he had to lift there was a terrorist attack on the Israelian team. Among the victims there was also a weightlifter. Serge who has always been a very sensitive person was emotionally very touched by this terrible event and couldn't lift his starting weights in the press. No total - no medal...

In the world championships from 1974 in Manila , the Philippines, he gathered again a silver medal.
He took 6 national titles and still holds the absolute national records with 182.5 kg snatch,  235 kg clean and jerk and 412.5 kg total (and 236 kg in the press)..

He competed in three Olympic Games (Tokyo '64 , Mexico '68 and Munchen '72) , with the Mexico silver medal as the highest achievement.

Altogether he broke 6 world records:

Snatch:
182.5 kg - 1973 Brussel

Clean & Jerk:
222.0 kg - 1970 Herbeumont
226.5 kg - 1970 La Roche

Clean & Press:
215.0 kg - 1970 Herbeumont
218.5 kg - 1970 Zwevegem
228.0 kg - 1971 Lima (Peru)

Achievements  in  European championships (EC), World Championships (WC) and Olympics (OG)
Before 1969  medals were only awarded for the total and not for the different disciplines.
Note that the press was dropped after 1972.
 Sport career

Year

City

Country

Press

Snatch

Jerk

Total

Competition

1964

Moskau

USSR

152.5

127.5 

172.5 

452.5 

Bronze

EC

1964

Tokio

Japan

167.5

130

180

477.5

10th

OG+WC

1965

Teheran

Iran

 

 

 

 

WC

1966

Berlin

DDR

 

 

 

 

WC

1968

Leningrad

USSR

182.5 

140 

205 

527.5 

Silver

EC

1968

Mexico-City

Mexico

195

147.5

212.5

555

Silver

OG+WC

1969

Warschau

Poland

202.5 Gold

152.5

215

Gold

570

Gold     

EC

+

 

 

 

Gold

 

 

Silver

WC

1970

Columbus

USA

215

Gold 

160

 215

Silver 

590

Silver     

WC

1971

Lima

Peru

 228

Silver

160

Bronze

0

Eliminated-

WC

1972

Constanza

Romenia

210 kg Bronze

0

0

Eliminated-

EC

1972

München

BRD

0

0

0

Eliminated- 

OG+WC

1973

Havanna

Cuba

-

175

4th 

0

Eliminated-

WC

1974

Verona

Italia

-

175

Silver

225

Bronze

400

Bronze

EC

1974

Manila

Philippines

-

170

4th

220

Silver

Silver

390 kg

WC

 

Year

 

 

Bodyweight

 

PRESS

 

SNATCH

 

 

JERK

 

 

TOTAL

 

 

Sinclair points

 

1959

 

 

 

 

270 kg

 

1960

 

 

 

 

387.5 kg

 

1962

 

 

 

 

407.5 kg

 

1965

 

 

 

 

520 kg

 

1966

 

 

 

 

525 kg

 

1967

 

 

 

 

512.5 kg

 

1968

124.4

195

147.5

212.5

555 kg

 

1969

 

 

 

 

570 kg

 

1970

130

218.5

 

226.5

600 kg

 

1971

 

228

 

 

585 kg

 

1972

 

 

170

 

620 kg

 

1973

140

-

182.5

230

412.5 kg

419

1974

 

-

 

235

 

 

1975

 

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