Halil Mutlu

Halil Mutlu

Halil Mutlu (born Huben HubenovFact|date=October 2008 on July 14, 1973 in Postnik, Bulgaria) is a Turkish World and Olympic Champion in weightlifting. He is one of only four weightlifters to have won three consecutive gold medals at Olympic Games. He won five World Championships, nine European Championships and broke more than 20 world records at 52 kg (114½ lb), 54 kg (119 lb) and 56 kg (123½ lb) combined.

Only 1.50 meters (approx. 4 feet 11 inches) tall, Mutlu followed in the footsteps of his compatriot weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu. Like his idol, Mutlu grew up a member of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, profited from excellent coaching there and then moved to Turkey, where he took a new name ("Mutlu" means happy in Turkish). Arriving at the age of 16, he soon began setting records and winning titles for his new country.


In 1994, he won both the European and world championships, titles that would soon become commonplace for him. He made his first Olympic appearance in 1992 in the 52 kg category and finished fifth. In 1996, in the 54 kg category, the reigning world champion and world record holder, Mutlu broke the world record in the snatch and went on to win the gold medal by 7.5 kg. At the 1999 World Championships he beat silver medal winner Adrian Ioan Jigau by around 20 kg and set a new world record. He remained undefeated until the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where he was even more dominant than he had been in Atlanta. This time he set world records in both the snatch and the clean and jerk and won by 17.5 kg in the 56 kg category.

He was suffering from a shoulder injury in 2003 and temporarily moved to the 62 kg class. His career appeared in doubt after a torn right rotator cuff and ruptured biceps tendon sidelined him for most of 2002.

Mutlu dominated in his weight class since mid-1990s. But prior to Athens, several experts became skeptical that Mutlu would be able to pass his younger and more aggressive opponents at the Olympics in 2004. By the time of the Athens Olympics in 2004, Mutlu won the world championship five times, although he had missed the 2002 season because of injury. In Athens he out lifted Meijin Wu of China by 5 kg in the snatch and then extended his lead in the jerk to earn victory by 7.5 kg. At 31, he captured his third consecutive gold medal at the Olympics in Athens. In 2005, Mutlu was banned from international competition by the International Weightlifting Federation for 2 years for use of anabolic steroid Nandrolone, although he insists that he never knowingly took steroids. The Turkish Weightlifting Federation itself had been suspended by the IWF for "repeated anti-doping violations" until May 2006. He pulled out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics stating that he was not able to "lift my targeted weight in practice." As a penalty, he was expelled from the ASKI. [cite news|url=http://www.milliyet.com.tr/Spor/HaberDetay.aspx?aType=HaberDetay&Kategori=spor&ArticleID=984650&Date=30.08.2008&b=Sampiyona%20ayip%20oldu&ver=04
title=Şampiyona ayıp oldu
quote=Pekin’e hazır olmadığı ve sakatlığını gerekçe göstererek katılmayan rekortmen halterci Halil Mutlu ASKİ kulübünden kovulduğunu rastlantı sonucu öğrendi.

Personal life

Mutlu is married and, has lived in Ankara, Turkey since the early 1990s. He is a member of the Konya Kombassan Club in Konya and is coached by Ibrahim Elmali. Beside weightlifting, Mutlu enjoys wrestling.

His idol, Naim Süleymanoğlu

Mutlu is nicknamed the "Little Dynamo", but is called also "Little Naim" because Naim Süleymanoğlu was his idol and, for some time, his coach in weightlifting. It is said that Mutlu even imitates Süleymanoğlu by walking with his hands in his pockets. In fact, there are many similarities in the biographies of both Suleymanoglu and Mutlu.

Both are ethnic Turks who were born and grew up in Bulgaria, a country famous for its world-class lifters. Both moved to Turkey. However, unlike Süleymanoğlu who entered the international weightlifting arena representing Bulgaria, and defected during the Communist era, Mutlu relocated to Turkey at an early age in his career, after the fall of Communism. Both became legends of weightlifting while competing in lighter weight classes. And of course, both won three Olympic gold medals. Despite many similarities with Süleymanoğlu, Mutlu is an outstanding lifter of his own merit. He proved to be a unique athlete in terms of his technical skills and competitive spirit. Due to personal charisma and success in sports Mutlu is considered a successor of legendary "Pocket Hercules" Naim Süleymanoğlu.


*World junior champion (1993),
*Five-time world champion (2003, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1994 - 1st; 1995, 1993 - 2nd.),
*Nine-time European champion (2005, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994),
*25 gold medals (8 Snatch, 8 Clean and Jerk, 9 Total) in total at European Championships, winner of the most gold medals second after David Rigert with 27 gold medals,
*Only fourth weightlifter to win three Olympic gold medals (2004, 2000, 1996),
*Virtually unchallenged since 1996; no active lifter has beaten Mutlu in a world-class event,
*Named as the "Sportsman of the year 1999" in Turkey,
*He is one of four men in history to lift three times his bodyweight,
*As a winner of three Olympic gold medals, Halil Mutlu definitely belongs to the all-time pantheon of the best Olympic weightlifters.



*CWR: Current world record
*WR: World record

World rank

2004 World ranking list for the category "Men 56 kg" is as following:


External links

* [http://www.iwf.net/ International Weightlifting Federation]
* [http://www.chidlovski.net/liftup/l_galleryResult.asp?a_id=175 Halil Mutlu, Hall of Fame at Lift Up]
* [http://www.weightliftingexchange.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=39&topic=2031.0 Halil Mutlu - Hall of Fame at Weightlifting Exchange]
* [http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/weightlifting/n214436496.shtml/ Halil Mutlu Pulls Out of the 2008 Olympics]

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